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The Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger
Delta Coastal States Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Saturday rejected the
Federal Government’s proposed two-day summit in the region. The group vowed not
to attend the event.

The leaders also called on the
government of the United States to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to
abide by his earlier agreement to hold dialogue with militants in the region.

Clark, who was represented by a
former Police Affairs Minister, Alaowei Bozimo, said this when a three-man
delegation from the US visited the elders and stakeholders at Effurun, Delta
State.

This is the second time officials
from the US are visiting the Clark dialogue team which also enjoys the support
of some militant groups.

It was a closed-door meeting and
journalists were barred from attending it.

The US officials, who were acting
with the support of the Federal Government, were told to prevail on the
President to ensure a genuine dialogue in the face of the renewed militancy in
the region.

A militant group in the region,
Niger Delta Avengers, on Friday blew up a crude oil exporting line in Bonny,
Rivers State, to protest what they described as government’s delayed tactics in
holding talks with the people of the region.

However, Bozimo told journalists
after the meeting, “It is timely that the US has come again on a fact-finding
mission. We just told them that we want a dialogue and not the summit that
Federal Government intended to convene.

“It is equally a wise decision of
the government to have suspended that inappropriate summit going by the reports
we have received. We believe that the answer is not a summit. The answer is
dialogue. The way forward is not the jamborees or endless summits.

“A very incongruous gathering of
nearly 500 persons with government officials talking to themselves at Abuja,
which would have been the experience with the summit, could not have addressed
the key issues. That is why we are objected to the summit. Dialogue and not the
monologue they were trying to put up can resolve the crises in the region.’’.

He also that leaders in the region
trusted the US fact-finding team to deliver their position to its government.

Bozimo said, ‘‘They have come to
see things for themselves. And we believe they will take the feedback to their
government who will then be in a position to advise the Federal Government in
order to solve the current situation in the Niger Delta.’’

Some of the leaders who attended
the meeting included Prof. Gordini Darah, Chief Isaac Jemide, Prof. Luck
Akaruese, Dr. Sylvester Piniki, Chief (Mrs.) Margaret Unukegbon and Gen. Don
Idada Ikpemwen (retd.) among others.

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