Members of the Concerned Citizens of Niger Delta, a coalition of traditional and opinion leaders in the six South South states of Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers states on January 21, 2020, converged at the Nigerian Bar Association , NBA Hall, Moscow Rd, Port Harcourt for a one-day Peace Summit.
The summit which had HRM Obong (Dr.) Essien Udo Ekidem , Ntisong Ibibio 111 as chairman, stated as objective, a renaissance of the Niger Delta as a vehicle for accelerating development in the region to help reduce the rate of poverty as well as enthrone peace in the region.
The Summit examined the state of affairs in the Niger Delta lamenting that lack of unity among the people is causing the oil and gas region not to have the needed momentum to push its plights and needs high enough into the national discourse for commensurate attention from the federal government.
This has left the region in dire need of infrastructural and social services to enhance living conditions even as oil and gas exploration activities continue to destroy their environment and impoverish the people.
The summit notes that discordant tones especially in relation to matters affecting key public figures from the South South have continued to rob the zone of the very few significant positions their sons and daughters occupy at the center and expressed worry that the region is the most militarized in the country posing a constant danger to the people.
It notes that there is more that binds us together and so we should not give room to the ‘zero-game’ mentality which believes there cannot be a win-win scenario; that either you win or I win.
It calls for a change of approach to those in office urging all Niger Deltans to rally round top government functionaries from the zone to strengthen them and position them to be strong to push for issues affecting the region. In particular, the Summit appealed to all aggrieved parties in the Federal Amnesty Programme to sheath their swords and rally support for Prof Charles Dokubo, the Special Assistant to the President on the Presidential Amnesty and its coordinator to enable him do his best for the programme and contribute more to the peace process in the region.
The Summit notes that the Presidential Amnesty Programme is vital to peace in the region and without peace our development and poverty eradication aspirations cannot be met. PANDEF has given something that should provide us a common ground to work towards in its 16-Point Agenda and emphasis should be on provision of schemes that would integrate beneficiaries successfully into the wider society after their training.
It charges all elected and appointed top functionaries in the zone to think Niger Delta before self and work jointly to put the oil region in the position it best deserves in the country.
The Summit also charges youths in the region to embrace peace as it enjoined the federal government not to renege on the several programmes it promised the Niger Delta people to help promote lasting peace especially those that would bring about sustainable development.
Over 300 persons including traditional rulers, chiefs, elders, women, youths attended the one-day summit.
HRM Obong (Dr,) Essien Udo Ekidem, Ntisong Ibibio111
High Chief Omubo Harry, Chairman Concerned Citizens of Niger Delta.