The Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Monday, told the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) that its style of breaking pipelines and bombing oil installations is a crude form of agitation and against the region’s yearnings for growth and development.
MEND, in a statement signed by its Spokesman, Gbomo Jomo, therefore, asked the NDA to sheathe its swords and embrace the Federal Government’s proposal for dialogue.
In the spirits of the proposed dialogue, Jomo said MEND had raised a seven-member panel for talks with the government and asked NDA to join the table of negotiation to discuss the region’s agitation.
Jomo described members of the panel as MEND Aaron Team 2 and identified them as Henry Odein Ajumogobia SAN (Rivers); Bismark Rewane (Delta) Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa (Cross River); Timipa Jenkins Okponipere (Bayelsa); Ibanga Isine (Akwa Ibom); Ledum Mitee (Rivers) and Lawson Omokhodion (Edo State).
Further referring to members of the team as patriotic, selfless men and women of proven track record, integrity and character; Jomo emphasised that the selected persons are not members of MEND.
He said the group constituted the team following “useful exploratory discussions held with high ranking officials of the current administration”.
He said MEND regretted previous attacks on oil installations in the region by its fighters because of untold hardship such actions brought to the people of the Niger Delta.
He said: “With the benevolent benefit of hindsight, the group realised that, after the initial euphoria of each successful attack, the gargantuan problems which confront our region; including environmental pollution and political corruption, increased geometrically”.
Addressing NDA, he said: “If indeed your cause is to avenge the injustice done to the Niger Delta region; then, we urge you to ceasefire and join us to the table of negotiation with the Federal Government; otherwise, the Niger Delta struggle shall be hijacked, once again, by selfish interests for their own personal aggrandizement.
“One such example is the recent purported NDA demand made through the region’s governors that the Federal Government should drop charges of corruption against certain individuals and politicians from the region. This absurd and ridiculous demand, to say the least, is far removed from the Niger Delta struggle”.
Jomo said the reason why MEND within its 10 years of existence took up arms against the government was to bring the pitiable condition of the Niger Delta to global attention in line with Otto Von Bismarck’s famous remark that, “the great questions of the time will be decided, not by speeches and resolutions, but by iron and blood”.
But he said MEND precisely at 00:00 hours on May 30, 2014; in response to former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Democracy Day speech unilaterally declared a ceasefire of hostilities against Nigeria’s key economic and strategic interests.
“Evidently, the ceasefire was an indication of the group’s belief that, in this present age and time, “iron and blood” might only become fashionable tools in settling questions when dialogue and diplomacy fail.
“Our message to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is simple: The Niger Delta struggle is beyond attacks on oil installations,” he said.