Africa News Bulletin

‘There was peace in the Niger Delta before you came’, Edwin Clark tells Buhari in open letter

Pa Edwin Clark, the leader of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of being the cause of the renewed restiveness in the Niger Delta region.

In the open letter seen by Ripples Nigeria on Friday, Clark expressed his opinion to oppose President Buhari’s claims that his regime had fostered lasting peace in the oil-rich region.

Clark, who is also a leader of the Ijaw Nation, said Buhari’s predecessors like the late President Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan, should be the ones claiming credit for any peace enjoyed in the South-South.

“There is no doubt that a good amount of peace has come to the Niger Delta in the past few years. However, your claim as having been the main architect that brought the peace does not properly convey what transpired,” the PANDEF leader said in the letter.

“If you will recall, your excellency, before your government came on board, insecurity which had reduced substantially during the tenure of your predecessor, resumed at a very alarming rate.

“The period saw the emergence of a new group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which virtually held your government hostage, oil production went down to as low as about 800,000 barrels per day.

“Your government adopted a military approach to quell the agitations, by deploying the so-called ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in August 2016, which did not in any way solve the problem.

“Mr President, may I make it very clear to you that the area is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, and any attempt to scrap the amnesty programme may produce unpleasant consequences to all.”

Accusing the President of marginalising the Niger Delta region and fanning the embers of agitations, Clark said:

“Our people are very conscious of the developments that your government is carrying out in other areas of the country with monies derived from oil exploration in their area.

“We repeat, our agitation against the use of money looted from our area by the late Gen. Sani Abacha, which was recovered from the United States of America, exclusively for the construction of the so-called mega projects by the Federal Government and the illegal confiscation of 2.4 million pounds from the British Government as loot recovered from the former governor of Delta state, Chief James Ibori, under the flimsy excuse by the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, that it was the federal government, which as a nation, negotiated with the British Government, and that it was an agreement between the two governments that the money should be used for federal projects; this is not true.

“Meanwhile, federal roads in the Niger Delta region have mostly collapsed and applying these funds to rehabilitate these collapsed roads, would have gone a long way to solving some of our problems.

“Mr. President, you have failed to deliver on different promises, including building modular refineries to replace the local refining carried out by youths, relocation of the operational headquarters of the oil companies to the Niger Delta, and the Ogoni clean-up.

“Please, Mr President, I respectfully wish to state that your claim of bringing peace to the South-South geo-political zone, is untenable, untrue and without foundation. The deliberate neglect of the South-South, can lead to the explosion of the keg of gunpowder upon which we are sitting in the Niger Delta.

“I strongly advise you to listen and heed to the various open letters I have written to you,” he said.

READ original story on Ripples Nigeria

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