Some indigenes of Niger Delta have issued a three-month ultimatum to the Federal Government to re-federalise Nigeria and convene a national dialogue comprising representatives of ethnic groups in order to chart a new course for the country.
This position was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a South-South zonal conference on restructuring: imperatives for sustainable development, unity and security held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Friday.
The conference, which has critical stakeholders and representatives of ethnic nationalities in the region, was organised by the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, in partnership with Agape Birthrights Development Initiative.
An elder statesman and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, who was represented by Chief Obiuwevbi Ominimini, while a career diplomat and Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, Dr Godknows Igali; and the National Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Senator Emmanuel Ebok-Essien, were present at the event.
Restating the urgent need for restructuring and devolution of more power to the states, they said oppressive and repressive tendencies against the Niger Delta region and its people would no longer be tolerated and urged the apex government to stop selling out their resources to the Chinese and others.
The communiqué read by a prominent Niger Delta activist and President of ABDI, Ms Ann-Kio Briggs said, “We the people of the Niger Delta hereby give the Government of Nigeria a three months window, within which to cordially address our concerns towards re-federalising the polity, by convening a national dialogue of the representatives of the ethnic groups in Nigeria to chart a new course for the country.
“At the expiration of this three-month window, we the people of the Niger Delta will commence the process that will guarantee our freedom and progress. Our people should mobilise all human resources to see that fiscal federalism and devolution of powers are includes in the constitution.