Ijaw Elder Statesman Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark has asked the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to maintain the peace while the dialogue with the Federal Government continues.
He made the appeal when a delegation of the Federal Government led by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (Rtd) visited him in his Abuja home on Sunday.
He was reacting to a statement by the NDA threatening the resumption of hostilities in the Niger Delta including the vandalism of oil facilities. Chief Clark said: “ We are appealing to the Niger Delta Avengers not to resume hostilities. They are our children and they mandated us to negotiate with the Federal Government on their behalf . They have to be patient and give us time to do so successfully. Any resumption of hostilities will not be in the interest of our people. This is not the time to resume hostilities. It is true that the Federal Government has not been quite serious about the negotiations, but we are asking the Niger Delta Avengers to maintain the peace. We have pleaded with them and we are sending a delegation to meet with them”
Chief Clark said that a major grouse of the Avengers was the disruption of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) meeting in Port Harcourt. He said with the explanation by General Boroh, there are assurances that the dialogue is back on track. He announced that the PANDEF which he leads, will be meeting in Warri soon.
He Reiterated that General Boroh is doing a good job as Adviser to the President and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. In asking the Federal Government to adequately fund the Amnesty Programme and to release all its budgeted funds, Chief Clark told General Boroh “ You are like the bridge between us and the Federal Government and we are willing to give you all the support you need”
General Boroh had earlier explained to Chief Clark that the disruption of the PANDEF meeting was due to communication gap and assured that the Federal Government has a lot of respect for PANDEF which it regards as a major partner in the resolution of the Niger Delta challenge, the maintenance of peace and development in the Region. The Federal Government he said, will soon unfold the New Vision for the Niger Delta Programme which will provide mass jobs opportunities for the youths and help fasten the development of the Region.
Presidential Amnesty Programme.