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Niger Delta Scales-up Agitation for Justice, Establishes PANDEF Office in America to Boost Struggle

The peoples of the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s vastly polluted oil and gas region, are expanding the frontiers of their agitation for equity and justice to North America.

To this end, their socio-political organisation, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) says it is repositioning with the establishment of an office in America to mobilise resources towards the realisation of its demands in the oil region.

The office which will also collaborate with similar organisations to broaden its agitation will also give a global perspective to their campaign, according to a top official of the group.

PANDEF’s Coordinator there, Samson Amajene, a church Bishop who made the development public said the time has come for the region and its people to be known globally like other ethnic groups in the country adding that his organisation would work with similar groups like the Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo and others to realise its mission statement.

Amajene expressed sadness that unlike other ethnic groups in the country, people from the Niger Delta are not known at the international level even though they are the producers of the country’s crude oil wealth.

He said the collaboration would create synergy with sister Organisations and assist the people of the region to be recognised by the authorities in North America.

“Like the Afenifere people, the Ohaneze, they are well known here in North America. If you meet a foreigner here, and you say you are a Nigerian, the first thing they will ask you is, ‘are a Yoruba person or Igbo?’ because those are the two major ethnic nationalities they know and they relate with.

“Basically, the idea is for PANDEF to position herself in such a way that as the people producing the resources somehow to fund the Nigeria state, we should be known. So we want to make ourselves known and relevant just like every other nationality in the Nigerian state,

“Once we have the vision statement and the ideas about what it is all about and you begin to work with that vision, then you will see that people in the region that are here would want to identify with PANDEF and for the resources that they have in terms of ideas, in terms of networks, in terms of organisations that they can identify with.

“We have organisations that we can collaborate with to raise funds, if we have a project that we want to do in the south-south region or in North America, we can collaborate with organisations that can help us with funds.

“We have a vision statement about what we want to do in North America to support the leadership of PANDEF back home in Nigeria.

According to him, the collaboration would create a synergy that would help in attracting development to the Niger Delta as the Forum would be properly re-positioned.

He denied that PANDEF has abandoned the struggle after it submitted a sixteen point agenda to the federal government and reportedly pulled out of the talks with the government following lack of progress on its demands.

He said the organisation had been swift in responding to negative and positive issues about the Niger Delta adding that it reacted immediately when some lawmakers in the House of Representatives wanted to quash the 13 percent derivation fund for the oil-producing states of the Niger Delta.

“PANDEF has never lost its relevance because yesterday, Chief Edwin Clark, issued a press statement condemning, in a way, what the former president Olusegun Obasanjo was saying.

The other day, 59 members of the House of Representatives, who were trying to quash the 13 percent derivation fund but an emergency meeting was held, through zoom and a decision was made and a position was taken.

“Not only that, recently, the residence of Justice Mary Odili was raided, and PANDEF responded swiftly condemning the act. There are other things that PANDEF has done. Its leadership is always responding to negative things that happen and also responding to positive things that happen within the Niger Delta.”

“Basically, the idea is for PANDEF to position herself in such a way that we as the people producing the resources somehow to fund the Nigeria state but sadly, we are not known. So we want to make ourselves known and relevant just as every other nationality in the Nigerian state,

“We don’t have that recognition now, presently in the White House, there are Yoruba people serving in the present administration, there are Igbo people too. I don’t think there is a south south person that is serving in the present administration in the White House.

“If you look at some of the other nations here, they are so organised that the government of the state always works with them to see how things can be done. And sometimes, the states will also support them. Those are some of the things that we in the Niger Delta should be looking at.”

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