By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has paid a consultative visit to former President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja to discuss the current security situation of the country and South south matters particularly the need for a regional security arrangement for the South-South as being done by other zones in the country.
The PANDEF delegation led by the National Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, said they visited the former President because he was a key voice in the country, and the political leader of the Niger Delta Region, and that his vast knowledge and understanding of the complexities and intricacies of the country, and the region, would be of immense benefit to PANDEF, and other groups in the country in the efforts to resolving the challenges we are confronted with.
The group in a statement Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson said issues discussed during the visit included the State of the Nation; worsening insecurity, the clamour for restructuring and the various secession agitations.
PANDEF also briefed the former President on the efforts of the group and solicited for his support in rallying the political leadership of the South-South geo-political zone to work together in the interest of the people.
PANDEF said, ”We committed some of our retired top Military and Police Officers to develop a Regional Security Framework, which we handed to the South-South Governors during their meeting in Port Harcourt on 16th November 2020. Whatever that is needed should be done to fast track setting up of the regional security arrangement to complement the efforts of the national security agencies, and enhance the safety and security of lives and property, of not only our people but all Nigerians who reside or do business in the Niger Delta region.
”The PANDEF delegation also discussed the continued neglect of the East-West Road and other critical infrastructure in Region by the Federal Government and the 16-Point Agenda. On restructuring, PANDEF said while we agree to a united, indivisible Nigeria, it should be based on equity, fairness and justice. There is no doubt that restructuring is not only a vital necessity but has now become expedient for the survival of Nigeria as a united entity. And that the Report of the 2014 National Conference, which was convoked during the administration of the former President, contains substantial guidelines for the equitable restructuring of Nigeria, to promote stability and sustainability.”
In his response, Jonathan said socio-cultural organisations have key roles to play in achieving national consensus in a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.
He commended PANDEF and other regional bodies in the country for their steadfastness and promised to support PANDEF in its effort.