The Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has demanded that the federal government set a definite timeline for oil companies to relocate their headquarters to their areas of operation in the Niger Delta.
This was made known in a communiqué issued by the forum at the end of its general assembly held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
The Niger Delta body also called on the Federal Government to review the 2017 budget to reflect the contribution of Niger Delta region to the nation’s economy through substantial allocation of funds for development.
PANDEF said that the 2017 budget in its current form as proposed is lopsided and skewed against the region.
Presenting the communiqué, the leader of PANDEF, Edwin Clark, said that the most urgent issues in Nigeria now is the issue of restructuring of political and economic systems to guarantee a just federation, based on equity and 100 percent ownership of resources by the federating units.
He also noted that the visit of the Vice President to various oil producing communities in the region is a clear demonstration of a new pathway to sustainable engagement in the region and worthy of commendation.
Also, the forum expressed displeasure at the appointment of Directors into the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, where only the minister of state, Ibe Kachikwu, who is a statutory member of the board, is the only person representing the region, adding that the development does not augur well for equitable and fair representation in line with federal character.
PANDEF also commended the pronouncements of the Vice President on some strategic matters during his tour of the Niger Delta, such as: the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, the relocation of Head offices of oil companies to the Niger Delta, regularization of local refineries into modular and more viable refineries and award of pipeline surveillance contract to local and host communities among others.
The meeting had in attendance former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, King Alfred Diette-Spiff and Idongesit Nkanga, a retired Air Commodore, former military governor and PANDEF leader in Akwa Ibom State.
According to the Niger Delta leaders, the meeting was to ensure more peace in the region as the federal government fulfills its promises to thethe region.