The Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, and foremost Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, on Friday held a meeting on critical issues affecting the Niger Delta region.
The meeting which focused on the state of insecurity especially the breakdown of law and other in some areas and the escalating tension in the oil-rich region, was sequel to a recent threat by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to resume attacks on oil installations in the region.
Dickson, according to a statement issued in Yenagoa on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, said shortly after the meeting the deliberations focused on how steps could be taken to establish contacts with the Federal Government on the one hand and the aggrieved youths on the other as part of the efforts to prevent a major crisis in the area.
According to him, the meeting also condemned the disruption of the fourth quarter general meeting of the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) by security operatives in Port Harcourt on Oct. 26, 2017.
Soriwei quoted Dickson as saying that the meeting called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disruption of the PANDEF’s meeting in Port Harcourt.
Governor Dickson and Clark who condemned the action of the security agencies argued that PANDEF like other organizations had the right as provided for in law to hold their meetings.
He also called on the agencies responsible for the disruption of the meeting to tender an apology to the elders who were embarrassed by the unprovoked reaction from the agencies.
The men of the Nigeria Police had taken over the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, venue of a meeting of PANDEF led by Chief Clark on October 26, 2017.
No reason was given by the security agencies for the disruption of the PANDEF meeting.
Dickson said, “Chief Edwin Clark and I just had a meeting on issues affecting the Niger Delta region. In specific terms, the meeting dwelt on the break down of law and order, general security and the escalating tension in the Niger Delta.
“We explored how we can step up contacts with the Federal Government on the one hand and the agitators on the other. We condemned the security measures taken to stop the meeting of PANDEF in Port Harcourt on October 26, 2017 and demand that the action of the security agencies should be investigated and apology tendered for what happened.
“We find the action of the security agencies unacceptable because PANDEF like every other organization has the right to meet as enshrined in the constitution .”
He said that the meeting also discussed efforts being made at repositioning and strengthening the umbrella Ijaw organizations especially the Ijaw National Congress and the Ijaw Youth Council.
The governor stressed that some progress had been made in the efforts he initiated alongside Ijaw elders and leaders to stabilize these bodies.