Clark Claims Warri Has Been Abandoned

Clark Pens Buhari, Warns Against Scrapping Amnesty Programme.

Chief Edwin Clark, South-South Leader and leader of the prominent Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has once again advised President Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Government against scrapping the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Clark, a former Federal Commissioner for Information, also warned that the oil-rich Niger Delta was sitting on a “keg of dynamite” due to the central government’s prolonged neglect of the region.

He said that the government’s continuous inability to address the developmental requirements of the people of the Niger Delta area, despite providing a significant percentage of the nation’s revenue, might “lead to the explosion of the keg of gunpowder” on which the region is sitting.

The warning was issued by the elder statesman on Thursday in an open letter to President Buhari in response to his recent assertion that his administration had succeeded in restoring peace to the previously volatile oil-rich area.

“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”, Clark, in the letter, said.

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He claimed that the current relative calm in the region was the result of the efforts and hands of PANDEF leaders from the diverse ethnic groups of the Niger Delta.

The letter partly read, “I am writing to bring to recollection, Your Excellency’s recent statements regarding peace and security in the Niger Delta, amongst other parts of the country. Your Excellency was specifically quoted to have said that your government has succeeded in improving upon peace in the North East and South-South, from what you inherited. 

“Your Excellency, I beg to, somewhat, disagree with you on the general state of insecurity in the country, which is presently, in a state of near collapse. Of more concern to me is your claims with respect to the Niger Delta or the South-South zone.

“No doubt, a good amount of peace has come to the Niger Delta in the past few years. However, your claim as having been the main architect that brought the peace, does not properly convey what transpired.

“If you will recall, Your Excellency, before your government came on board, insecurity which had reduced substantially during the tenure of your predecessor, resumed in a very alarming rate. The period saw the emergence of a new group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which virtually held your government hostage, oil production went down to as low as about 800,000 barrels per day.

“Your government adopted a military approach to quell the agitations, by deploying the so-called ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in August, 2016, which did not in any way solve the problem.”

Clark, a former senator, called the federal government’s choice to use the recently repatriated loot of Delta State’s former governor, Chief James Ibori, for development projects outside the state “unacceptable.”

“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 solve some of our problems”, the letter added

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