Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
A group of Niger Delta militants under the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) yesterday backed last weekâ€™s disruption of a proposed meeting by the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum ( PANDEF) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The militants maintained that the meeting would have â€˜derailedâ€™ the talks between the Niger Delta leaders and the federal government since â€œPANDEF is no longer recognised,â€ by the warlords.
â€˜Generalâ€™ Johnmark Ezonbi, leader of the group reiterated the RNDAâ€™ s earlier stand in a statement that PANDEF aits leaders could no longer speak for the militants in particular and the a region in general.
â€œWe sincerely thank the Presidency for not entering into any further discussions with PANDEF after the mandate given to them by militants and stakeholders was withdrawn, knowing full well that the group was an arm of a failed political party that has contributed to the woes of underdevelopment in the region.
â€œWe also thank the security agencies for aborting the planned meeting of PANDEF in Port Harcourt because if not stopped it would have created serious tension in the region.
â€œClark and his cohorts should know that the withdrawal of the mandate given to PANDEF by militants and stakeholders was not as a results of leadership issues but the personalities.
â€œIt is a shame for chief Clark who has been in power since the 70â€™s to compare PANDEF to Afenifere in the South West or Arewa Consultative Forum in the northern part of the country,â€ the militants said.
The group wondered why Clark â€œdid not form PANDEF when former President Goodluck Jonathan was in power for six years so as to address the underdevelopment that is affecting the people of the region.â€
It, again, listed a number of leaders from the region with the mandate to enter into talks with the federal government, insisting that meeting with Clark and his group would further escalate tensions in the region.