Niger Delta: Clark disowns monarchs who met with Kachikwu



Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark on Friday has disowned the six traditional rulers who met and presented a six points request to Dr Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum on Thursday in Abuja as a way out of the Niger Delta crisis.

The traditional rulers and stakeholders from the Niger Delta region had at the meeting with Kachikwu listed six things the federal government should do to end destruction of the country’s oil assets by militants and restore peace in the oil producing region.

The traditional rulers also asked the federal government to urgently constitute a dialogue team to negotiate on its behalf with stakeholders in the region. Their request was presented by Chief Wellington Okirika, the Bolowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State.

But Chief Edwin Clark who is already leading another group of stakeholders angling to represent Niger Delta in the proposed talks with Federal Government said on Friday that the monarchs went to Abuja on their own accord.

Clark, a former Nigeria’s Minister of Information spoke during a meeting with representatives of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

One Mr Timipa Okponipene who claimed to be the Secretary of MEND, but has never been heard of before now pledged the militant group’s support for the proposed dialogue with the Federal Government as being championed by Chief  Clark.

Okponipene, who condemned the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, also presented MEND’s terms and conditions for participation in the dialogue to Clark.

According to him, the Ijaw national leader should lead the dialogue team while two slots should be left for women.

“I am sent to pledge our support and loyalty to Chief Edwin Clark.

“The dialogue group shall also comprised six eminent personalities in the Niger Delta and Clark will be the leader,’’ he said.

Okponipene said that MEND had no problem with Clark, adding that they only had different ideological approach to issues.

Earlier, the former Police Affairs Minister, Mr Broderick Bozimo, said that the reason for the gathering was to address the recent publication in which some Ijaws monarchs went to misrepresent the Niger Delta in Abuja.

“We are amazed at what we saw on the television and read in the newspapers where some monarchs misrepresented us before the Minister for State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu.

“The purpose of this gathering is to ensure the group remain united and ensure the dialogue succeed,’’ he said.