The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has raised issues over discriminatory treatment against operators of various artisanal refineries in the Niger Delta as against the intention of the government to legalize the activities of all those who are mining various solid minerals around the country, without any formal approvals.
National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Dr. Keb Robinson in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday said they have decided to call attention to this discriminatory practice which has continued to go on particularly arising from the Summit on Solid Minerals which was co-hosted by the Solid Minerals Development Fund and the African Finance Corporation which took place in Abuja, yesterday, Tuesday, 17th October, 2023.
“After that program, it was announced amongst other things that the Fund, which is specially set up to promote the solid minerals sector will very soon extend financing interventions to cater to those who are currently operating as illegal miners.
“Furthermore, they will all be recognized, registered, and given licenses to improve on their current illegal and artisanal activities.
“We have observed that even, in the past, illegal mining of solid mineral resources has been given an official nod at the highest levels. Especially, with the launch of the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) in 2020. “We recall how the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, now Minister of Defence, Bello Matawalle, openly visited the Presidential Villa with large nuggets of gold, said to have been produced from his State.”
He said, this time the federal government has decided to go one step further by apparently declaring full support for the local artisanal and illegal mining of solid minerals in the country.
“However, PANDEF acknowledges the efforts of the Federal Government to expand the national economy as the dependence on oil and gas for the past 60 years has become overbearing and unsustainable.
“It is shocking that this same Federal Government continues to discriminate flagrantly against the people of the Niger Delta as their efforts to develop local technologies are tagged illegal refineries and therefore daily burnt and the operators paraded as high-level criminals.
“Even the local efforts in developing technology, which, even the NNPC has not been able to do are often harassed, bombarded, and destroyed, further damaging the badly polluted and degraded environment of the Region. A typical story of throwing away the baby with the bath water!!!
“We recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, then Acting President, had during his tour to the Niger Delta in 2017 promised that the Federal Government will equally promote the development of local technology through the conversion of these artisanal refineries into legal entities, thereby making them viable companies. “Similar to the present set of miners who will now enjoy warm handshakes and financial largesse from the Federal Government and its international partners, these refineries were expected to be the foundation for Nigeria’s technological breakthrough in local refining through their conversion to modular refineries.
“Six years down the line, no specific Fund has been set up for these artisanal refineries, none of them has been legalized, and allowed to operate and the operators are being chased about, arrested, and whatever efforts they have made are bombarded and set ablaze by the Nigerian military.
“PANDEF wonders if there are two sets of laws in Nigeria as the Niger Delta people have always been at the receiving end. “
PANDEF called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reverse this inconsistency, more so, as it is the money from the Niger Delta that is being used to fund the efforts to regularise the activities of illegal miners. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!!
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as an acclaimed democrat with a noted track record of fighting for justice from his days in NADECO, must correct this double standard, and not allow the continued subjugation of the Niger Delta.
“We trust that the Federal Government of Nigeria will take urgent steps to correct this grave injustice”
PANDEF rejoices with King Diete-Spiff, Tompolo, over honorary awards
The National Leadership of Pan Niger Delta Forum,(PANDEF), has congratulated the duo of His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, Seriyai II, Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass Kingdom, pioneer Military Governor of Old Rivers State; and the dynamic and prolific mobilizer of men and resources; High Chief Dr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), on the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degrees on them by the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Dr. Ken Robinon in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, indicated that Diete-Spiff and Tompolo received the awards during the first convocation ceremony of the premier maritime university in Nigeria last Saturday.
The explained that the conferment of the Doctor of Education (Honoris Causa) on High Chief Dr. Government Ekemupolo by the University is most appropriate and well-deserved, given his extraordinary foresight, vision, and contributions to educational development in his Delta State.
According to him, Tompolo established Mienka Dive, a model diving institute, which helped to midwife the take-off of the Nigeria Maritime University, as well as his peace-building efforts in the Niger Delta region.
“His various efforts in creating value and contributing to the sustenance of peace in the Niger Delta, and the development of the national economy, particularly through Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, deserve commendations.
“PANDEF is likewise delighted at the installation of His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, the pioneer Co-Chairman of the PANDEF Steering Committee, and current Co-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the flagship regional body, as Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), and his admittance into the degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Honoris Causa.
“PANDEF commends the Management and Staff of the Nigeria Maritime University for the honour bestowed on these great men as well as the impressive running of the university.”
He indicated that the reopening of the university for academic activities at the Nigeria Maritime University was one of the items in the “16-Point Demand” presented to the federal government on 1st November 2016 by PANDEF, It is, thus, gratifying that the University is alive and well.
“”We equally use this opportunity to thank the Visitor to the University, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for the federal government’s continued support to the university.
Once again, PANDEF extends hearty felicitations to His Majesty, King Dr. Alfred Diete-Spiff, and our dear brother and son, High Chief Dr. Government Ekemupolo on the well-deserved conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degrees of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt), and Doctor of Education (D.Ed), respectively.”
Bayelsa guber: PANDEF tells Timipre Sylva to emulate former President Jonathan
The National leadership of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and all the other governorship candidates in the Bayelsa gubernatorial election to emulate former President Goodluck Jonathan
Former President Jonathan a noble son of Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta had set an example in reaching out to his opponent Former President Muhammadu Buhari with a message of congratulations even before the results of the 2015 Presidential election was officially declared.
A statement by the National Chairman Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF) Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien said, following the declaration of incumbent governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State, by the Independent National Electoral Commission Sylva and other opponents should congratulate Governor Diri who has been returned winner of the November 11 Governorship election, in the overall interest of Bayelsa State.
“PANDEF, accordingly, congratulates His Excellency, Governor Douye Diri on his well-deserved re-election for a 2nd Term and urges him to be magnanimous in victory while calling on all political leaders in Bayelsa State to work together by placing the peace and stability of the state above all other considerations.
“PANDEF further commends the people of Bayelsa State for the relatively peaceful governorship election, which was devoid of violence in most places.
“We are using this opportunity to also commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the security agencies for the orderly manner in which they conducted the off-season election in Bayelsa State. It should be noted that Bayelsa State is critical to the stability of the Niger Delta region, and the national economy in general. Hence, the peaceful electoral outcome is quite pleasing to all.
“We must also commend the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for his stately stance of non-interference in the electoral process.
“PANDEF calls on the security agencies to investigate the circumstances surrounding the reported unfortunate incident of death in Brass local government area of the state as well as other infractions committed during the election.”
INEC Declares Gov Diri winner of Bayelsa guber polls
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday declared Governor Douye Diri Winner of the keenly contested guber polls in Bayelsa State
According to the State Returning Officer, Prof. Faruq Kuta, Diri, having polled the highest number of votes and met the conditions specified in the Electoral Act, was declared winner of the election.
Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared as the duly elected governor of the state after polling a total of 175, 196 to defeat his closest rival and former minister of Petroleum Resources and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva, of the All progressives Congress (APC), who garnered 110, 108 votes.
Total number of votes cast was 291, 212; voided votes was 3, 668, while valid votes were 287, 534.
The governor defeated Sylva in six out of the eight local councils- Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Sagbama, Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw,- while Sylva won in Nembe and Brass, with Labour Party’s (LP) candidate, Udengs Eradiri, winning none.
A breakdown of the results show Kolokuma/Opokuma: APC- 5,349; PDP-18,465; Ogbia: APC-16,319, PDP-18,435; Yenagoa: APC-14,534, PDP- 37,777; Sagbama: APC- 6,608, PDP- 35504; Ekeremor: APC- 8,445, PDP- 23,172; Nembe: APC 22,249’ PDP- 4,556; Brass: APC- 18, 431, PDP- 12, 602; Southern Ijaw: APC- 18,174, PDP- 24, 685.
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