N Delta leaders threaten to pull out of peace talks as militants threaten to revive attacks

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Prominent community leaders in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta oil hub threatened on Monday to pull out of peace talks with the government unless their demands were met by Nov. 1, Reuters reports.

They told a news conference in Abuja the federal government had failed to implement promises to drag the region out of poverty, a key demand by militants who had stopped attacks on oil pipelines to give peace talks a chance. The Niger Delta leaders had presented President Muhammadu Buhari a list of 16 demands at a meeting on Nov. 1, 2016 after which the main militants groups halted attacks in the southern swamplands to give the talks a chance.

Chief Edwin Clark who spoke for the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) which has been holding peace talks with the government since last year said; “If, at the expiration of the November 1, 2017 ultimatum, the Federal Government fails and or refuses to accede to these lawful and legitimate demands of the Niger Delta people, PANDEF may consider pulling out of the ongoing peace process in the Niger Delta.”

This comes as the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC), one of the militant groups that asked the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), led by Chief Edwin Clark, to stop all engagements with the Federal Government, has announced that it will commence fresh attacks on oil facilities across the Niger Delta on September 31.

Also a coalition of Niger Delta agitators has expressed disappointment in the leadership of PANDEF, saying it had failed the agitators in the negotiation with the federal government to achieve an acceptable level of social and economic prosperity for the region. It also blamed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for failing the people and the region and lashed out at the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, for being insensitive to their plight.