South-South Leaders Urge Tinubu and NASS to Reconsider 2014 National Conference Report

South-South leaders, represented by PANDEF, call for the reexamination of the 2014 National Conference Report, emphasizing the need for comprehensive restructuring and addressing regional concerns.

South-South Leaders Advocate for Comprehensive Restructuring

Leaders from the South-South region, represented by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), have made a compelling call to President Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly to revisit the 2014 National Conference Report. They believe it holds the key to addressing critical issues in Nigeria and fostering a more equitable, fair, and just society through comprehensive restructuring.

During an extraordinary emergency meeting held in Abuja, PANDEF reaffirmed its commitment to a stable, united, and peaceful Nigeria built on principles of equity, fairness, and justice. While acknowledging some positive steps taken by the Tinubu administration, the forum emphasized the urgency of further actions to alleviate the economic burdens faced by ordinary citizens.

The communiqué issued at the meeting noted that some Niger Delta representatives had been appointed to statutory positions by President Tinubu. However, PANDEF expressed concern that the Niger Delta region remains underrepresented and called for corrective measures.

Specifically, PANDEF demanded the appointment of a Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) from one of the six South-South states. They viewed the absence of such representation as a disservice to the Niger Delta people. Furthermore, the forum criticized the marginalization of Niger Delta indigenes in key management positions at NNPC and highlighted recent awards of "Pipeline Maintenance Contracts" that excluded qualified firms from the region.

PANDEF also called on the federal government to support and encourage artisanal refineries and stop criminalizing them. This move is seen as a means to provide employment opportunities for the region's youth, especially in light of the government's plans to legalize illegal mining of solid minerals.

Infrastructure development was another area of concern for the leaders, with a demand for the immediate reconstruction of various road networks, including the East-West Road, Eleme-Onne, Ahoada-Mbiama-Kaiama, Benin-Sapale-Warri Road, and more. They also called for the extension of the Warri-Itakpe Railway to Abuja and an acceleration of work on the Port Harcourt-Enugu-Maiduguri Rail line.

PANDEF encouraged South-South governors to collaborate for the region's betterment and to revive the activities of the BRACED (Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, and Delta) Commission.

The forum commended the efforts of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, General Barry Ndiomu (rtd), and expressed satisfaction with the recent appointment of a new Board and Management for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under President Tinubu's administration.

The meeting was chaired by Chief Edwin Clark, PANDEF's National Leader, and attended by PANDEF National Chairman, Emmanuel Ibok Essien, members of the PANDEF Board of Trustees, national and state officers, former national and state legislators, governors, ministers, and other key stakeholders.

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