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PARIS, JANUARY 7, 207: (DGW) Ijaw national leader and a former Federal Commissioner of Information, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has finally revealed why there have not been bombings of oil facilities and other critical national assets in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta.
He stated this in an interview with Saturday Sun newspapers where he covered a wide range of issues ranging from the ongoing anti-graft war to militancy in the Niger Delta.
He criticized the over-militarization of the region and added that the relative peace in the region today is not as a result of the militarization of the region.
According to him, ''No military action can stop what was going on, vandalization of pipelines, stealing of oil''.
The relative peace in the region today, he said , is as a result of the meetings held by the leaders of the region which was well-attended by serving governors of the region, Ijaw youths and and other Ijaw leaders.
He said, ''the youths merged together and formed what we now call Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), which met with Mr. President on the 1st of November 2016. We did not negotiate with him, we went there to pay a courtesy call and we asked him there is need for dialogue.''

Speaking further, he said the meeting he called was attended by about 500 delegates where a major decision and the Riot Act was read to all the militants.
His words: ''I summoned a meeting to PTI on Friday, 19th of August where about 500 delegates attended, the invitation was published in the newspapers and was well attended, then we took a decision to appeal to the youths, the militants as being called to cease fire, to give peace a chance and they agreed particularly the Niger Delta Avengers and MEND, including the Adaka Boro Avengers''. 

Below is an abridged version of the interview with Saturday Sun published on January 7, 2017.

Excerpts:
Let’s look at the issue of militancy in the region. For some time now the Niger Delta area has enjoyed some relative peace as the militants appear to have suspended attacks on critical national assets, what do you think was responsible for this?




It is very wrong of anybody to think that over militarization of the Niger Delta is responsible for the peace existing now. It is false, the elders, the youths merged together and formed what we now call Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), which met with Mr. President on the 1st of November 2016. We did not negotiate with him, we went there to pay a courtesy call and we asked him there is need for dialogue. No military action can stop what was going on, vandalization of pipelines, stealing of oil. First of all, we met on the 30th of July, in my residence in Warri. The meeting was attended by all the Ijaws in the Niger Delta extending it to Ondo State and Akwa-Ibom State, the governor of Bayelsa State attended that meeting, the deputy governor of Delta State attended that meeting with a lot of resolutions but later I discovered that not only Ijaws were involved so I summoned a meeting to PTI on Friday, 19th of August where about 500 delegates attended, the invitation was published in the newspapers and was well attended, then we took a decision to appeal to the youths, the militants as being called to cease fire, to give peace a chance and they agreed particularly the Niger Delta Avengers and MEND, including the Adaka Boro Avengers. Only a few of them on the land refused to toe the line. So, as far as I am concerned, the activities of the Pan Niger Delta Forum and the youths that have agreed to listen to us brought the peace. Today, the production of under 1 million barrels is 2.2 million barrels of oil per day. It is not because of ‘Crocodile Smile’, it is not because of JTF or something they called ‘Operation Delta Safe’ or whatever they call it but we have also called on the Federal Government to withdraw the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ and reduce the number of military activities in the Niger Delta, a situation whereby you have military parading everywhere, that people cannot live their normal life. The Air Force bombing places suspected to be hamlets of militants only to find out that they are not, should be stopped and we assured Mr. President that there will be no more bombing of oil pipelines as from the time we met him and we are happy that the same Federal Government had agreed to re-open the Maritime University in Okerenkoko, these are some of the things that will bring peace and not the military activities.

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