By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – LEADER’S of the Niger Delta region under the aegis of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum, PANDEF, Thursday night withdrew the ultimatum issued to the Federal Government on some of the contentious issues.
Briefing journalists after the meeting minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu said all the contentious issues were resolved.
According to him, “Several issues were discussed issues relating to University at Okerenkeko, issues related to development in Niger Delta generally, issues related to the amnesty program and how well it is working, issues related to NDDC operations in the region.
“We discussed how far we have gone with the implementation of the 16 point agenda. Several issues relating to the universities, the development of the region, amnesty programme, NDDC operations in the Niger delta. It was very exhaustive we looked at the 16-point agenda.
“Today was environment of peace, calm, friendliness, and mutual dialoguing of issues, where we are coming from and mist pressing issues that they have.
“There is more consensus, it is not an alarm that we are going to pull of the negotiations. They did in fact pledge their loyalty and their willingness to continue to work with us.
“I didn’t see an environment of ultimatum here.”
Also speaking, the leader of PANDEF. Chief Edwin Clark said that the ultimatum has been withdrawn and that the region agreed to work together with government.
He said, “The meeting was excellent. We met with Mr Acting President and the discussion was very honest, truthful, forthright. We are very very satisfied.
“No more ultimatum. We agreed on many things. They came with their own address, the ministers all spoke, presented their cases and at the end, the Acting President rounded it up. We saw his genuineness, forthrightness, he is a gentleman. We are satisfied.
“We have agreed to work together and the issue of dialogue must to take place.
“The message back home is that we had the opportunity to meet with Mr Acting President we discussed our 16-point agenda and government’s 20-point agenda and we are all satisfied. We all agreed that everyone should maintain peace.”
On why the Niger Delta people are not speaking with one voice he said, “We are speaking with one voice.”
On the recent statement by the MEND disassociating themselves from PANDEF, he said “MEND was in the meeting. Jomo gbomo does not exist as a human being, that us a ghost Name, fake name. Other organizations were here.
“I am the leader of the Niger delta and every leader you can think of from cross river to Ondo state were all here today.”