N-Delta leaders to meet Buhari soon
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South PORT HARCOURT- THE Federal Government is putting together the machinery for the much awaited Niger Delta dialogue to hold on Monday, September 26 and 27, at Abuja. Vanguard learned, yesterday, that the summit was being coordinated by the Office of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo with Senator Babaemi Ojudu of Ekiti State, who is the SA, Political Matters to President Muhammadu Buhri and a former Commissioner in Ekiti state under the former governor, Fayemi, as facilitators. Ahead the Abuja meeting, the Niger Delta Dialogue Contact Group, headed by the former military governor of the old Rivers State, King Alfred Diette-Spiff is meeting today (Monday) at Port-Harcourt, Rivers state, to analyze the findings of its contact groups and come up with an action plan for the Abuja meeting. Leader of the Pan-Niger Delta platform, comprising monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of Niger Delta coastal states, former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, told Vanguard, yesterday, “We are not aware that any date has been fixed for the Niger Delta Summit, but arrangements are on top gear for the monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of the coastal states to meet with President Buhari to brief him on our last meeting in Effurun, Warri and the way forward.” President Buhari in Daura. President Buhari in Daura. Our source hinted: “Several international partners like NSRP and PIND, as well as the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, are on the planning committee of the Abuja summit on Niger Delta,” An invitation to the September 26 and 27 Niger Delta Summit, signed by Senator Ojudu, sented to one of the participants, sighted by Vanguard, said: “As you are aware, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is determined to ensure the achievement of sustainable peace and improved well-being of the people of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.” “Towards the achievement of this mission of government and as part of efforts to contain the restiveness in the region, the Office of the Vice-President is partnering with agencies of government that have core functions in the Niger Delta region to organize a 2-day Summit on the Niger Delta with the theme: ‘Towards Sustainable Peace and Development in the Niger- Delta.’ “The objectives of the Summit, which is scheduled to take place at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja betweenSeptember 26 and 27, 2016, are: To provide an enduring political blueprint geared towards a more lasting peace in the Niger Delta region; to delineate an acceptable security framework for consolidating and sustaining peace and stability in the Niger Delta. “To review current development initiatives in the region and outline a concerted and coordinated framework for delivering development results in the region,” he said. Ojudu added: “The Summit which will convene about 500 participants representing various critical categories and sectors has as focus Security and Public Safety; Development; and Public Leadership.” “It gives me pleasure to invite you on behalf of His Excellency the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON to the Summit. This invitation underscores your role as an important stakeholder whose inputs are indispensable for our overall success,” Senator Ojudu added. Chief Clark did not expressly tell Vanguard that he was aware of the Niger Delta Summit, but he asserted: “We will send a delegation to the Niger Delta Dialogue Contact Group meeting tomorrow at (Port Harcourt) as observers to hear what they will say because we do not want to have a divided house. But the group that has the authority to negotiate on behalf of the region is the pan Niger-Delta platform of the coastal states of the region.” “I think they have also invited the European Union, United States, France United Kingdom and Dutch to brief them on the process so far and I do not see anything wrong with that. That is why our delegation will also be there to observe that tell them our position because we believe all hands should be on deck,” he asserted. “So, like I said, we are going there for the unity of the coastal states, the meeting is entirely the idea of the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact group of the American lady, Chief Judith Asuni and we will attend as observers,” Speaking to Vanguard on the Port-Harcourt meeting, Chief Asuni, also confirmed: “It is strictly a meeting of the Niger Delta Dialouge and Contact Group. It is a follow-up on our meeting at Uyo, Akwa Ibom state in June and the one in the middle of July in Warri, Delta state.” “The international community, EU, UK, Dutch, US and France will be there and our government partners also. We are also expecting about 14 to 15 representatives from the Edwin Clark group. It is to review the plan for the Abuja meeting, you know we have our Contact Team A, headed by King Diette-Spiff, which is to make contact with government and the Contact Team B to make contact with the boys in the creeks. So they have to brief the entire group. “Monday (today) is an internal meeting of the group and Tuesday (tomorrow) is the general session where we expect the international community and other bodies I mentioned,” she added. Meanwhile, the governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has meet Chief Clark and others to fine tune the plan for the meeting of pan-Niger Delta Coastal states’ monarchs and leaders with President Muhammadu Buhari.