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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Buhari may ignore Niger Delta elders’ demands

OLALEKAN ADETAYO

President Muhammadu Buhari may not act on the 16-point demand presented to him by elders of the Niger Delta until militants stop vandalising oil installations in the region, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.

Stakeholders from the region under the aegis of Pan Niger Delta Forum had, at a meeting with Buhari on November 1, presented 16 points that they claimed could help the Federal Government to achieve “quick wins” in the region.


The Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, presented the demands contained in a 10-page document, which included “inclusive participation in the oil industry and ownership of oil blocs.”

Buhari was said to have promised the delegation at the meeting, held behind closed doors inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that he would study their demands.

But a source in the Presidency told our correspondent on Saturday that the President might not act on the demands except the leaders succeed in restoring normalcy in the region.

“You will recall that a day after the President met with the Niger Delta delegation, there was bombing in the region. That caused a major setback for the dialogue. I can tell you that President Buhari may not act on the demands except violence stops completely in the region,” the source said.

It was also learnt that in negotiating for peace in the region, the Federal Government would not yield to pressure to drop corruption charges against an ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina,  confirmed that Buhari would not stop the trial of any person who was found culpable in any case.

He said, “It is not in the character of this administration to stop those who have questions to answer from answering such questions. Those who do not have any question to answer also have nothing to fear under this administration,” Adesina said.

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