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Following the recent visit by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to the Niger Delta region, the Pan-Niger Delta Elders Forum, PANDEF, has commended the Federal Government, for adopting its 16-point demands, as a working document for the development of the region.

The group, in a statement issued at the weekend and signed by a member of its Central Working Committee, CWC, Alfred Mulade, noted that Osinbajo’s visit to the region last Monday, must have influenced the decision.

The statement reads: “PANDEF, notes with satisfaction the pronouncement made by Osinbajo on the adoption of its position paper, containing well-articulated 16-item dialogue issues, as a working document for the attainment of sustainable peace, equity, justice, and development in the Niger Delta region, during his fact-finding visit to Delta State, on January 16, 2017.

“PANDEF is confident that the Vice President’s visit has afforded him the opportunity to interact for peace and fruitful engagement with the long-neglected and marginalised people of the Niger Delta,” it added.

The group maintained that the 16-item dialogue document embodies the core, broad, and vexed issues that cut across every segment of the nationalities, in the coastal States of the region.

It stated further: “PANDEF is impressed that beyond rhetorics, the Federal Government has given definite approval for the opening of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, as well as the Export Processing Zone, EPZ, comprising the Gas City Project, at Ogidigben, and the Deep Seaport, in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West LGA, Delta State.



“These projects, when fully operational, will definitely cause a turn-around of the socio-economic and security landscape of not just in Delta State, but the entire country”, the group said.

PANDEF however, said beyond the pronouncement, which has elicited joy in the region, the Federal Government must move the necessary steps further, to fast-track the implementation of these projects.

It added: “Let us give the Federal government a chance to carry out its plans for the development of the Niger Delta region. We believe, and will continue to uphold the ideals of a peaceful Niger Delta, hinged on equity and justice, a united and prosperous Nigeria.”

Also, the former Acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Pastor Power Ziakede Aginighan, has appealed to the Ijaws, Urhobos, and Itsekiris, to bury their differences and support the renewed efforts of the Federal Government, to develop the Niger Delta region.

Aghinighan, a prominent Ijaw Leader and Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, APC, said Osinbajo’s visit to the region, has brightened the prospects of peace founded on socio-economic justice in the region.

He reiterated, that the visit by the Vice President, has underscored the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari, to the sustainable development of the Niger Delta.
“There can be no stronger expression of the Federal Government’s understanding of the situation in Niger Delta, than the pronouncement by the Vice President, that the region should be treated as a special development zone.
“The Federal Government’s commitment to the take-off the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, and the Gas City Project, at Ogidigben, gives a ray of hope that the oil-rich but hitherto alienated coastal belt of Delta State, will be integrated into the mainstream of national development,” Aghinighan said.

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