Elder statesmen from the Niger Delta region have reacted to Senate’s rejection of restructuring by calling for Nigeria’s break up.
According to them, their continued support for a united Nigeria is hinged on the immediate restructuring of the country.
In an emphatic declaration on Monday in Abuja, the leaders led by First Republic Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, under the aegis of the Pan Niger Delta forum (PANDEF), stated: “No restructuring, no Nigeria.”
They also threatened to withdraw from negotiations with the Federal Government, if it fails to implement their 16-point agenda, which they had presented to President Muhammadu Buhari some months ago.
After a meeting in Abuja yesterday, PANDEF accused the government of avoiding dialogue with its members after it had persuaded the youths in the region to halt all forms of violence in return for dialogue with the Federal Government to address all the issues that forced them to attack oil and other public installations in the zone.
PANDEF regretted that since November 1, 2016, when it presented its charter of demands to President Buhari, the government has frustrated all efforts to dialogue with them, adding that their patience has been exhausted.
The elder statesman stated that they would no longer push for any form of dialogue with the government at the expiration of their November 1 ultimatum.
After the deadline, the Niger Delta elders disclosed, they would rather refer the government to the region’s youths who have vowed to fight for their right, lamenting that the youths had continuously seen them as betraying their cause since they sued for peace to pursue dialogue with the Presidency.
In a statement issued at the end of the meeting, PANDEF condemned the National Assembly’s rejection of devolution of power and restructuring, stating that with the prevailing situation in the country, it is either the government agrees to restructuring or there will be no Nigeria.
Clark said: “Restructuring has become a pain in the ears of a few champions of wicked hegemony. All we are saying is let us go back to the negotiated 1960 Independence Constitution on which the 1963 Republican Constitution was moulded.
“Anything else is more obnoxious and totally unacceptable to the entire Southern and Middle Belt areas of Nigeria, as well as the growing number of well-meaning Nigeria in the North. All we are saying is “No restructuring, no Nigeria.”
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