The Niger Delta region, comprising mainly of the states in the South – South geo-political zone, will forever remain part of Nigeria, leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark has said.
Chief Clark, who made the declaration in an open letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari, however, called on the federal government to address all issues of marginalisation, including those of environmental degradation raised by concerned voices in the region to avoid explosion of gun powder the people of the area are currently sitting on.
The elder statesman in the letter dated, 27th of January, 2022, specifically appealed to the president not to stop the Amnesty Programme and also address issues of oil spillage in the area, the Ogoni clean up and completion of abandoned projects.
“I will soon be 95 years old, and I am on my way out. God may soon give me my delayed boarding pass, but the coastal Niger Delta will remain forever as part of Nigeria.
“I strongly advise you to listen and heed to the various open letters I have written to you as well as various agitations made by leaders of the region as far as development and lasting peace are concerned in the area,” he said.
The letter reads in part: “Mr. President, may I make it very clear to you that the area is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, and any attempt to scrap the amnesty program may produce unpleasant consequences to all.
“Our people are very conscious of the developments that your government is carrying out in other areas of the country with monies derived from oil exploration in their area.
“We repeat, our agitation against the use of money looted from our area by the late Gen. Sani Abacha, which was recovered from the United States of America, exclusively for the construction of the so-called mega projects by the Federal Government, and the illegal confiscation of 2.4 million pounds from the British government as loot recovered from the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, under the flimsy excuse by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, that it was the Federal Government, which as a nation, negotiated with the British government. And that it was an agreement between the two governments that the money should be used for federal projects. This is not true.
“Meanwhile, federal roads in the Niger Delta region have mostly collapsed and applying these funds to rehabilitate these collapsed roads would have gone a long way to solving some of our problems.
“The deliberate neglect of the South-South can lead to the explosion of the keg of gunpowder upon which we are sitting in the Niger Delta.”