THE traditional ruler of oil-rich Ogulagha Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, HRM Joseph Timiyan, has charged the Federal Government to focus on the infrastructural development of oil bearing kingdoms and communities as panacea to the lingering agitations in the Niger Delta.
Timiyan, who spoke to newsmen in Warri, said: “It is the oil producing kingdoms and communities that are underdeveloped and marginalized. Therefore, further discussions or efforts by the Federal Government should focus on the oil producing communities.”
He urged the Pan Niger Delta Peoples Congress, PNDPC and Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, to join forces in the interest of the people of the Niger Delta, noting that all stakeholders in the region have mandated PANDEF to go into fruitful negotiations with the Federal Government on how to develop the area.
According to him, “I was a founding member of PANDEF and we had our agenda but at a point there was some communication gap and that created division. I left PANDEF along with some aggrieved members to form PNDPC and now that our region has been called upon to come and negotiate with the government, we need to be united to present a common front so that the Federal Government will not continue to give us excuses for not acting.’’
According to him, with a united PNDPC and PANDEF “the Federal Government will know that we mean business and are committed to the development of our region. The excuses of not knowing which of the group to discuss with is no longer there.”
The government should as a matter of urgency open negotiation with PANDEF on the way forward.”