Gabriel Enenche —
The National Chairman, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Emmanuel Ibok-Essien last weekend commended the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri on his administration’s infrastructure development.
Ibok-Essien also appreciated the Governor for supporting citizens, particularly when floods hit different parts of the state.
Ibok-Essien, while praising the 16-point agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, also highlighted a number of issues bedeviling the Niger Delta region which he said include the plight of internally displaced persons, National Water Bill, true federalism, oil pollution, amongst others.
A minute silence was observed in honour of the former PANDEF national Chairman, the late Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) and the late Deputy National Chairman, Chief Francis Doukpola.
The Governor also urged Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) not to dabble in partisan politics but remain focused on protecting collective interest of the Niger Delta region.
He saluted efforts of the leaders and other stakeholders of PANDEF, particularly Edwin Clark, for showing leadership over the years on issues concerning the region.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the Governor acknowledged that PANDEF had made commendable effort towards the growth and development of the region.
His said: “PANDEF is an apolitical body. I advise it remains so for its integrity to be intact.
“PANDEF is a voice in the Niger Delta and in Nigeria and it is contributing to the growth and development of our region. We appreciate the leaders because of the role they play in stabilising the Niger Delta and the Nigerian state.
“We also appreciate our elder statesman, Pa Edwin Clark, who has given leadership to PANDEF.” Diri assured PANDEF of his administration’s continued support and directed the Ministry of Lands and Housing to provide a befitting accommodation for the body’s headquarters in Bayelsa.
“Niger Delta should have a voice working for us at the national level. The forum needs to have synergy with governors. We used to have BRACED (Bayelsa Rivers Akwa Ibom Cross River Edo and Delta) Commission, which is comatose but, God willing, we will bring it back on stream”.