The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has alleged that some Federal Government appointees are working against the execution of projects in the South-South zone, stressing that the trend should stop to prevent unemployment.
The National Chairman of PANDEF, and former military Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), who made this known in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Ken Robinson yesterday in Abuja, added that appointees from the zone are being used by outside forces to terminate projects.
He appealed to the federal political appointees from the region to work harmoniously rather than engage in bickering and witch-hunting. The statement read: “It became necessary to make this public appeal, partly, because of recent happenings in the nation’s polity, and the continued poor attention to issues of the region by the Federal Government.
“But, more particularly, because PANDEF has, lately, been inundated with worrying complaints of arbitrary termination of valid contracts of companies, in which Niger Deltans have a principal interest, in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government. And mainly, in ministries where the Ministers are also from the Niger Delta. “If these complaints are true, then it is very unfortu- nate. We should not be working against ourselves, for whatever reasons.
It is saddening that persons from the region are being used to perpetuate these insidious acts against the region. We are unaware of these occurrences in other parts of the country. “We have advised the affected persons, who have come to us, to exercise patience and not seek redress in the law courts yet; while we make efforts to ascertain the facts of the matters and seek peaceful resolutions.
“Because the truth is that they do have the right to go to court if their contracts/ projects were unlawfully terminated, especially in a manner that indicates vindictiveness and possible abuse of office by those concerned.
“PANDEF is quite disturbed by these circumstances; they are unhealthy and inimical to the socioeconomic development of the region. As such, we have decided to seek individual audiences with key political stakeholders, including Ministers, Members of the National Assembly, and Heads of federal MDAs from the Region, to discuss these concerns, and hopefully resolve them.” He added: “The reality is that thousands of youths from the region and other parts of the country must have become jobless as a result of the contracts that have been reportedly terminated unjustly, thereby adding to the already awful unemployment situation, and likely to increase cases of youth restiveness in the region.
“So, who are the actual losers in these situations? The region and the country, of course; and not necessarily the businessmen and women, whose contracts/ projects were terminated for whatever reason. And that’s the significant point to note!”