Air Cmdr Idongesit Nkanga (retd

The Pan Niger Delta Forum has called on the Federal Government to give equal opportunities to all Nigerians.

The group, which alleged that the Niger Delta region was being marginalised, noted that it was time to embark on restructuring of the country.

The National Chairman of PANDEF, Air Cmdr Idongesit Nkanga (retd.), made the call during the inauguration of the Cross River State chapter of the organisation.

In a statement made available to SUNDAY PUNCH, Nkanga said Nigeria should be restructured so that the Niger Delta region could have a say in the affairs of the country.

“All our citizens must have equal opportunities. What is obtainable in other climes must be applied as people are revolting over old ways of doing things.

“We are economically, socially marginalised. Our region is dying; we need urban renewal in the Niger Delta now. You cannot be a first-class citizen and live in a second-class economy. Look at the neglect in Bakassi after ceding the oil rich peninsular to Cameroon,” he said.

The state Chairman of PANDEF, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, said, “We are a traumatised people. Our brothers from other states and ethnic nationalities need to keep this in mind and demonstrate accommodation and empathy. Cross River will seek to insulate itself against overbearing influences of the majority.

“The Supreme Court said the 76 oil wells were taken away because Cross River ceased from being a littoral state when Bakassi was ceded to Cameroon. But the ceding of Bakassi was a Federal Government decision.”

In her comments, a former member of the House of Representatives, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, also decried the plight of the Bakassi people.

She said the region had been neglected, adding that the number of Internally Displaced Persons from Cameroon in the region was on the increase.

“I am calling on PANDEF to take the bull by the horns. Our region is almost dead; cities like Port Harcourt need re-urbanisation. The IDPs are on the rise, especially from Cameroon; and we need to look into it as soon as possible.”

Also, a former Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Mr Effiok Cobham, advised PANDEF to agitate for the provision of jobs for ex-militants that had completed their training.-Punch