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Niger Delta leaders boycott FG’s peace summit

By News Express on 25/09/2016

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Notable leaders in the Niger Delta led by Chief Edwin Clark, have have rejected the planned Niger Delta Stakeholders’ Summit slated for the 26th – 27th September, being organised by the Federal Government.
The regional leaders, who met under the aegis of the Pan-Niger Delta Coastal States Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum, made their position known in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday.
Clark and his colleagues said that a proposed parallel summit would be meaningless since the Federal Government had allegedly failed to initiate dialogue to negotiate with the region despite the cessation of hostilities by militants.
They noted that the summit, which is rumoured to have been postponed indefinitely, was contrary to the expectations of people around the world on the Niger Delta question.
Meanwhile, leaders in the region have called on the United States to prevail on President Buhari to initiate a genuine dialogue in order to halt the renewed militant hostilities in the region.
Chief Clark, on Saturday, told a three-man delegation of US officials to soften the heart of President Buhari on the proposed dialogue.
The officials had paid visit to Clark and his Pan Niger Delta team in Warri, Delta State.
The US officials including a Political Officer from its embassy in Abuja, an official from Washington and one security detail had a closed-door session with the stakeholders, avoiding the prying eyes of journalists.
But a former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, who represented Chief Clark, told the press at the end of the meeting: “It is timely that the United States has come again on a fact-finding mission. We just told them that we want a dialogue and not the summit that Federal Government had intended to convene.
“It is equally a wise decision of government to have suspended that inappropriate summit going by reports we have received. We believe that the answer is not summit. The answer is dialogue. The way forward is not these jamborees or endless summits, the reports of which we have a thousand and one in the shelves over past ones that have been held.
“So we have faith in the US fact-finding team. They have come to see things for themselves. And we take them for their word to take the feedback to their home government who will then be in position to advise the Federal Government in the overall goal of resolving the current situation.”
However, one of the US officials, while fielding questions from journalists, said: “We can’t talk to you on this visit. It is the Consul General or the Ambassador that could have spoken to you if they were here. We are sorry, don’t feel offended.”
•Photo shows Chief Edwin Clark.

Source News Express

Posted 25/09/2016 09:18:42 AM


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