By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
Again the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has again expressed disappointment over the non-implementation of the 16-point agenda, designed to promote the development and ensure lasting peace in the Niger Delta region and the country at large.
National Chairman of PANDEF, and a former military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga spoke on Friday in his remarks at the 2019 Retreat of the Forum holding in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital.
His words, “There are certain milestones that we cannot ignore. The milestone that I want us to review is the 16point agenda.
“It is something that the Niger Delta through PANDEF sat down and said for the sake of peace, development these are some of the things that we need to do, and that if we do that the peace that has been elusive in the Niger Delta region would be achieved.
“Not all of them require resources, money but some of them require political will. The 16 point agenda sadly since it was submitted on November 1, 2016, only half has been done, which means we still have fifteen and a half left.
“And that half is the establishment and resumption of studies at the Maritime University Okerenkeko, Delta state. The Maritime Academy of Oron is still undone and other 15 and a half are yet to be accomplished”
The PANDEF National Chairman who thanked President Buhari for appointing sons of the region into strategic positions in his cabinet however restated the Forum’s position on assessing their performances based on the completion of the East-West road, realisation of promised Lagos- Calabar Rail line and relocation of IOC’s which are very much important to the development of the region.
Nkanga thanked God that the youths of the region had been able to keep to their own promise of stopping the destruction of oil facilities which accounts for improvement in the security situations in the region.
“But in terms of the things that we said should be put in place that has not been done. Today we in PANDEF are saying that the Minister for Niger Delta who is from this region no matter what he does if we don’t have the East-West Road completed in his tenure, we’ll look at it as a failure.
“There was a promise on the Rail line crossing from Lagos to Calabar, that too has not been done. The Federal Ministry of Transportation is manned by an indigene of Niger Delta.
“The Colonial masters took the Rail line from Lagos to up north, from Enugu to up north. So what we saw at that time was Southwest to the north, Southeast to the north.
“But those that are producing the wealth of this nation do not know what a rail line or train looks like. So we are going to tell the Minister of Transportation that we are going to rate him as successful by the completion of that Rail line from Lagos to Calabar. We say that in no unmistaken terms.
We have talked about the relocation of the IOCs which is also part of the 16point agenda. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources is from the Niger Delta. His success will be looked at if those IOCs are relocated. Let us not play around with it.
“If you go from Lagos-Lekki and see the development by ExxonMobil, and Chevron, then you will see why we are lamenting. Some of those things should have been done in Eket, Ibeno or Warri, Sapele areas”, he stressed.