NLNG Corporate Excellence banner First bank campus storm Fidelity bank card banner Emerald Energy Institute Camano banner

Police aborts meeting of Niger Delta leaders •Clark, Mitee blow hot

By Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt on 27/10/2017

Gmail icon

Views: 1,632

•Battle-ready policemen
•Battle-ready policemen

There was outrage at the police stopping of a meeting of the general assembly of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday. PANDEF leaders said the action was dangerous because it would send a bad signal that the government does not appreciate the role the group has been playing to rein in militants and other aggrieved groups in the volatile Niger Delta region.

As early as 7:00 a.m. police operatives from the Rivers State Command barricaded Birabi Street leading to Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, venue of the aborted meeting, and prevented delegates, including monarchs and human rights activists from accessing the place.

The security agents said they were directed by the Police High Command to disrupt the meeting following a threat by a new militant group, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, to blow up critical oil installations if the PANDEF meeting went ahead. The Guardian learnt from sources in the PANDEF that the primary agenda for the general assembly was to approve the group’s constitution and hold an election.

PANDEF Secretary-General, Ledum Mitee, who condemned the action of the security agents, said there was no justification for the disruption of the meeting where issues affecting the region would have been discussed.

“It sends a very conflicting message because on 1st October, the president was commending the leaders of Niger Delta for their constructive role in ensuring peace in the region. And now, less than a month after that, there is a clampdown on the leaders of the Niger Delta. I don’t think it is the best approach,” he said.

On the claim that the meeting was aborted to protect national interest, Mitee explained that PANDEF did not pose any security risk to the nation. He said that the aborted meeting, which had helped to stem the attack on oil pipelines and other critical national assets by Niger Delta militants was to discuss issues of common interest to the people of the region.

“In fact, it is more in the national interest for PANDEF to meet and discuss than to stop PANDEF from meeting. When people talk of national interest, you are talking about the interest of the nationals and we are the nationals of this country. So national interest cannot just be one thing that you call as such when you want to clamp down on the citizens. If you are talking of national interest, you are talking of the interest of the nationals, and members of PANDEF are nationals of this country,” Mitee said.

But amid the standoff between the police and members of PANDEF, some leaders of the group decided to retreat to the suite in the hotel where they held a caucus meeting with elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.

PANDEF’s youth wing leader, Mr. Famous Daunemigha, confirmed the caucus meeting. He claimed that the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers who the security agents alleged threatened to attack oil pipelines was a non-existent group.

“We just ended the meeting. They tried to frustrate us, but we later went in and had a meeting. We don’t know who wants to frustrate us; it is just that security apparatus said some militants were threatening. I have told the military personnel that as far as I am concerned, those who made the statement threatening PANDEF are laptop militants. The RNDA is a laptop group, we don’t know them and we don’t recognise any of the members,” he said.

In his reaction to the disruption of the meeting, Clark said the attempts to stop such a high-level gathering of leaders of the Niger Delta region was unacceptable and a very disturbing precedent and flagrant denigration of the nation’s constitutional guarantees of the right of peaceful assembly and free movement.

“This is more disturbing when it is known that meetings of this nature by leaders of other geo-political zones such as Arewa Consultative Forum, Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the likes have never in the history of the country been subjected to such humiliation and show of high-handedness.”

He said that PANDEF considered the action of the government insensitive. He noted that at the height of resumed militancy in the Niger Delta in 2016, and its negative impact on the national economy which saw the fall in oil production to an unprecedented low of 800,000bopd, it was the timely intervention of PANDEF that ensured the return to peace and stability.

“This brought about a surge in production of oil to the present level of 2.35million bpd and free flow of gas to our power plants and industries. This at present price brings in over $115 million (about 36 billion Naira) daily,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Leader of Pan Niger Delta Peoples Congress, Dr. Charles Ayemi Botu, has accused some elders in the group of wanting to use PANDEF as a platform to launder their image.

Botu, who is the king of Siembiri Kingdom, said that the same militant groups that confirmed legitimacy on PANDEF to represent them in negotiation with the government had passed a vote of no confidence in the leaders of PANDEF.

“The boys, as I read, threatened to resume hostilities in the region if the meeting held yesterday because they don’t have confidence in the E.K. Clark-led PANDEF leading the region. The Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA and other agitators made it clear that they have lost confidence in the Clark-led PANDEF. It is shocking that PANDEF went round soliciting support from states. I am the leader of the newly formed Pan Niger Delta Peoples Congress (PNDC) with support from all genuine Niger Deltans.” (The Guardian)

Source News Express

Posted 27/10/2017 06:05:41 AM

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
New Chief Judge assumes office, vows war against...

EFCC docks two impostors, as 2 others bag...

Budget Padding: Jibrin plans more revelations

Minister resigns ahead of 2019 election

Benue govt commissions 37 public utility projects destroyed...

Kano anti-graft agency recovers N1bn in 2017

Boko Haram: Soldiers write Jonathan, indict general, president's...

Okonjo-Iweala accuses Buhari govt of witch-hunt, denies spending...

Oritsejafor identifies 4 things that will make the...

Nigeria loses $25bn to foreign ship owners

2019: Ijaw group endorses Uduaghan for Senate

Stop Malabu oil scandal probe, Ijaw Youths tell...

 

Latest News Abduction: Kano Govt issues red alert to parents, guardians Exodus hits Bayelsa Govt., PDP ahead of Nov. 16 guber election •Ex-Deputy Governor dumps party for APC Minimum wage: Prepare for strike, NLC tells state councils Aisha Buhari: Why I had a prolonged stay abroad Men not exempted from breast cancer screening – Oncologist FG earmarks N792m for internet, live TV on presidential jet High cost of governance, lawmakers rebuff reform, mock Okorocha As electorate challenges Obiano on campaign promises Oil theft: Reps to summon service chiefs, NNPC Businessman slams N150m suit on Immigration over loss of passport Rain of tears: Flood sacks Lagos, part of Ogun We won’t embark on new road projects until… – Fashola

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (550,237 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (447,065 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (394,483 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (330,154 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (298,683 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (262,461 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (255,900 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (253,133 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (234,593 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (220,706 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (198,357 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (195,615 views)

 

CBN milk production

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (104) Business & Economy (4,486) Business Verdict (84) Columnists (1,126) Complaints & Requests (96) Enterprise & Opportunities (217) Entertainment (689) Features (829) Global Business Monitor (462) ICT Monitor (65) International (4,064) Interview (204) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (173) Maggie's Blog (444) News (52,582) Opinion (1,393) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,557) Religion (1,109) Sports (2,192) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera