PANDEF Backs Southern Govs’ Call for Restructuring, Condemns Lawan’s Stance

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By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has expressed its support to the call by Southern Governors for restructuring, ban on open grazing, amongst other national issues.

This was contained in a communique issued Tuesday at the end of its general assembly conveyed to appraise the State of the Nation, particularly, as it concerns the worsening security situation; increasing agitations for secession; continued neglect of the Niger Delta region by the federal government; the national discourse on the restructuring of the country; and the recent meeting of Southern governors in Asaba, Delta State.

The Forum in the communique signed by its National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark and National Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, condemned the comments attributed to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and the provocative expressions of some northern elements, against the decisions of the Southern Governors on restructuring of the country, and the banning of open grazing.

PANDEF commended the solidarity demonstrated by Southern Senators and Members of the House of Representatives in promptly supporting the resolutions of the Southern Governors.

The group deplored the worsening security situation in the country, calling on the Federal Government to live up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and properties of citizens.

The Forum also maintained that the Presidency must rotate to the South in 2023, at the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two tenures of eight years, adding that it’s non-negotiable a southerner must succeed President Buhari.

PANDEF ”condemned the spate of attacks on Police formations and personnel in some states in the south-south and south-east and urged those behind the awful actions to stop forthwith while calling for a thorough and unbiased investigation to determine those truly behind the attacks.”

It restated its position on the restructuring of the country and insisted that Nigeria cannot continue in the present flawed trajectory.

“That restructuring is now not only a vital necessity but has become expedient for the survival of Nigeria. Thus, called on the federal government to heed the voice of reason, and, without any delay, institute a genuine dialogue process on the restructuring of the country, to stimulate peace, security, and development, before it is too late.

”Again, noted with concern, the non-composition of a substantive Board and Management for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), for almost two years. Warned that the situation threatens the peace and stability of the Region, hence, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to, promptly, constitute the Board and Management of the NDDC, in line with the Act establishing the Commission.”

The Forum however reiterated its resolve to engage with all critical stakeholders of the Niger Delta Region, irrespective of political inclinations, in its efforts to foster unity, lasting peace, security and sustainable development of the region.