Tony Ita Etim, Port Harcourt
A faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta Mend (MEND) has condemned the bombing of oil installations in the region by a group which identified itself as the Niger Delta Avengers.
The condemnation was contained in a press statement signed by MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo and made available to The Union by electronic mail.
Gbomo explained “After a rigorous and robust analysis, debate and review of political events in Nigeria within the past 12 months; particularly as they affect the Niger Delta region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has resolved to continue to respect the unilateral ceasefire of hostilities declared May 30, 2014 against key economic interests of the Nigerian State.
“The painful but necessary resolution to respect the ceasefire was borne out of MEND’s belief that as President Muhammadu Buhari marks his first year in office, he deserves more time to stabilize the country that was ran aground by the ill-fated, corrupt and visionless immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan which pauperized the Nigerian people to the alarming degree we all experience today.”
The statement declared “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wishes to condemn and dissociate itself from the recent activities carried out by a group known as the “Niger Delta Avengers”.
“Their sudden emergence has absolutely nothing to do with the Niger Delta struggle but rather a tool by certain elements to destabilise the current government. Going by their actions and subsequent statements, it has become very apparent on who the sponsors of these group are.”
The group announced that “MEND serves notice to the International Community that the Niger Delta region shall NOT be part of a secessionist Biafran State. Rather, the group believes in one strong united Nigerian federation where the principles and ideals of Resource Control; True Federalism; Rule of Law/Respect for Human Rights; Democracy; Free Enterprise and a Vibrant Civil Society are well entrenched in the ground norm and put to practice.”
Gbomo faulted the amnesty programme thus, “However, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) remains vehemently opposed to the fraudulent and unsustainable Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) headed by Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd) which still runs on the corrupt bureaucratic and operational template of the past administration.
“We have always made it very clear that unless the root issues which gave birth to the agitations in the Niger Delta region are addressed, in the form of a sincere dialogue, this programme will only continue to remain a mere cesspool of corruption.”
The group suggested that “In order to create an enabling environment for dialogue on the Niger Delta question, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) urges President Muhammadu Buhari to release the Okah Brothers – Henry and Charles who were arrested in 2010 on trumped-up charges. The release of Henry and Charles Okah will be key to any form of dialogue in helping to bring stability to the volatile region.”