By Dirisu Yakubu
The Pan Niger Delta Forum has called on President Bola Tinubu not to scrap the Niger Delta Ministry.
This is just as the group expressed displeasure at the failure to name a Minister for the Ministry following this week’s assignment of portfolios to ministerial designates by Mr President.
The forum made the call on Friday after an emergency meeting of its National Executive and Board of Trustees at the Abuja residence of its national leader, Edwin Clark.
In a communique signed by Clark and its National Chairman, Emmanuel Essien, PANDEF reminded President Tinubu that the Niger Delta Ministry was created by former President, Umaru Yar’ Adua to among others, focus on the infrastructural development of the oil-producing states of the country.
The communique read in part, “The meeting discussed issues pertaining to the ongoing appointment and assignment of Ministers, as it affects the States of the Niger Delta region and South-South geo-political zone, particularly, the omission of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.”
The meeting “Expresses great surprise that in the published assignment of Ministers to their various cabinet portfolios, there is none designated for the existing Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“Reminds 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.
“That the Ministry was created by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2008, and was sustained under his two immediate predecessors (Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari) to help advance the course of the peace in the Niger Delta region.”
While calling on President Tinubu to urgently address the omission, the Forum warned “That any misguided step toward scrapping or submerging the ministry will create an unfavorable environment with adverse consequences.
“We further caution 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 the country.”