Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting
FOLLOWING the silence as regards assigning a minister to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has cautioned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to jettison the ministry.
Stonix News reports that during the week, portfolios were assigned to ministers-designate with a visible omission of the Niger Delta ministry by the Tinubu-led Federal Government.
In a communique issued by the apex sociocultural group in the South South of Nigeria, after arising from an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) and National Executive Committee on Friday in Abuja, PANDEF reminded the Federal Government why the ministry was created by the late former President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2008.
“(We) remind Mr. President that the Ministry of Niger Delta was created, specifically, to “focus on infrastructural development, environmental protection and empowerment of youths in the oil-rich Niger Delta region”, which continues to be greatly impacted by the oil and gas industry, and remains the live-wire of the national economy,” the group emphasized.
In the communique signed by Chief Edwin Clark, National Leader; and Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, National Chairman, the group, which had other members of the Board of Trustees, as well as National and State Officers in attendance, PANDEF said the loftiness of the ministry was expectedly sustained by the two successive governments of Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, wondering why that of Tinubu would be different.
The group expressed shock that in the published assignment of portfolios to ministers-designate , there was none attached to the existing Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
It further cautioned the Tinubu-led administration not to tamper with other flagship institution(s) pertaining to the region.
It, therefore, “Cautions that any misguided step toward SCRAPPING OR SUBMERGING the Ministry, will create an unfavorable environment with adverse consequences.
“Further cautions the Federal Government to desist from tampering with any institution(s), which along with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, have been flagship institution(s), to ensure peace and development in the Niger Delta region.
“We are hopeful that the federal government will be properly advised on this matter, even as we reiterate the commitment of the leadership of PANDEF and the people of the region to enduring the reign of peace and stability in the overall interest of country.”