Coalition of Niger Delta Militants Withdraws Quit Notice, Clark Says It Didn’t Represent Region

Coalition of Niger Delta Militants, the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress (PNDPC), has withdrawn the October 1 quit notice it earlier issued to northerners and Yoruba living in the region.
However, convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, dismissed the coalition’s withdrawal, saying the group had no power to issue the quit notice in the first place because it didn’t represent the region’s interest.
In withdrawing the quit notice, group which said it has the mandate to negotiate for the Niger Delta with the Federal Government and other interested stakeholders, said those behind the coalition gave the mandate to withdraw it.
The coalition had disbanded the Chief Edwin Clark-led PANDEF after passing a vote of no confidence in the group and constituted PNDPC as the new negotiator for the region.
The militant groups appointed His Royal Majesty Pere Ayemi-Botu, paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom as the head of the PNDPC and named Chief Mike Loyibo as the coordinator/ convener of the group.
The coalition comprises the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers; Niger Delta Joint Revolutionary Crusaders Council; Niger Delta Supreme Egbesu Fighters; Niger Delta Red Scorpion Fighters; Niger Delta Youth Mandate for Justice; Niger Delta People’s Liberation Force; Niger Delta Fighters for Resource Control; Niger Delta for Urhobo Resource Control; and Bakassi People’s Liberation Force.
Loyibo, whom the coalition said was appointed following his track records of integrity and honesty, confirmed that the coalition mandated the PNPDC to announce the withdrawal of the quit notice.
He said the youths were remorseful after he and members of the new group met with them and told them the implications of the quit notice to the peace and development of the region.
He said: “People should disregard the quit notice from our youths. I have spoken to many of them and they mandated me to withdraw it on their behalf.
“They have called off the quit notice and discharged it. Everybody in the region in the west, east and north should go about their normal business. I can guarantee them of their safety.
“The entire Niger Delta people are not in agreement with the quit notice issue. The boys that issued it are very remorseful. So, they have asked me, because they mandated me to speak for them and the region, to discharge the quit notice.
“This quit notice and counter quit notice found their foundations from the precolonial days. The three leaders that negotiated the independence of Nigeria did not love themselves.
“It was the crisis that extended to our era where everybody begins to struggle for their own. I don’t believe in regional or tribal considerations. As Ijaw people, those that had been good to us did not come from our region,” he said.
He said the youths were only suspicious that the Federal Government was trying to weaken them through promises that they might not fulfill at last.
Loyibo said the leaders also told the youths to also hold their Governors, appointees and regional interventionist agencies responsible for lack of leadership and development.
He blamed the Arewa youths for causing tension in the polity and frowned on the way and manner the government treated them.
He noted that nobody should be treated as a second class citizen adding that all must be held as equal stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
He said the youths in the region still believed in the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and their ability to fulfill the promises they made to the region.
He said: “We are peaceloving people. Our diversity is our strength. Mr. President has brought a lot of integrity to governance and he came in with massive goodwill. So, I believe that this is the time he should be addressing the issue.
However, Chief Clark who said all Nigerians had the freedom to live in any part of the country, as Nigeria is just one country, said those who gave the ultimatum had nobody’s mandate and had no such authority to give such quit notice to anyone.
The elder statesman said he was one of the very first Nigerians to condemn the Arewa youths who issued an ultimatum to Indigbo earlier, adding that there was no way he could have permitted such action to take place in his own region. While he vehemently cautioned those behind the quit notice to desist and withdraw the ultimatum, Chief Clark advised the Yoruba and northerners resident in the Niger Delta to continue to live peacefully in the region.
“I’ve already made a statement on that issue when Afenifere contacted me. Somebody represented me and I made a statement. As far as I’m concerned, Nigeria is our country, therefore anybody who is a Nigerian is free to live in any part of Nigeria. We even allow non-Nigerians to live in Nigeria, to do businesses of their choice.
“Therefore, if we have one country, we cannot prevent anybody from living in any part of the country. I have already advised those who made that statement to withdraw it, besides they have no authority from anybody; no elder not even PANDEF.”

Author: News Editor

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