…. MEND Reaches Agreement with FG Team on N/Delta Crisis
In a deliberate effort to curtail and stop incessant destructions of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta by militants, a strategic security office and an economic agency of federal government have been working behind the scene to ensure amicable resolution to the lingering crisis in the region.
The initiative of collaborative partnership of the strategic government agencies through liaison with different groups has received the blessing of major stakeholders in the Niger Delta region including their elders and youths towards amicable solution to the crisis.
As a sign of fruitful discussions between the two parties to the negotiation, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has publicly announced that it had reached an agreement on the release of Henry Okah, his younger brother Charles, Obi Nwabuezem, Nnamdi Kanu and other sectional agitators, on the condition that they renounce their campaigns.
In a statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, MEND said “The deliberations have been fruitful. Various concessions and guarantees have already been secured some of which include, but are not limited to: release of Henry Okah, Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze; review of the life sentence handed to Mr. Edmund Ebiware, based on a proposal put forward by the Aaron Team representative for Abia and Imo states, Senator Adolphus Wabara, conditional release of IPOB leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and others, if they renounced their agitation for a Biafra Republic.”
MEND also made a case for the most wanted ex-Militant Leader Government Ekpemupolo Tompolo, urging that Tompolo “shall not be arrested, harassed and/or intimidated whenever he makes himself available as a delegate of the MEND Aaron Team 2. That international arbitrator and conflict negotiator, American Dr. Judith Asuni shall be accepted as the representative of the Niger Delta Avengers on the MEND Aaron Team.
“That the criminal charges against Urhobo freedom fighter, Mr. Kelvin Prosper Oniarah, shall be reviewed. That the life sentence which was handed in 2008 to seven soldiers, who actively supported the Niger Delta struggle be reviewed under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
“The affected persons are Suleiman Alabi Akubo, Major; Mathias Peter, SGT.; Alexander Davou, L.Cpl.; Moses Nwaigwe, L.Cpl.; Nnandi Anene, L.Cpl.; Taatihi Emmanuel, L.Cpl. and Caleb Bawa, PTE.”
The group further claimed that they are ready to team up with the government to jointly and separately take proactive steps to rescue and secure the region in the event that the Niger Delta Avengers continue on their senseless and politically-motivated path of attacks on the country’s oil assets.
The stated further added that: “Both parties (MEND’s Aaron Team 2 and the Federal Government) agreed that the special forces of the Nigerian Army should commence the purely routine, but strategic military exercise, code-named ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’, while MEND will commence a meet-the government-actors-and-people tour of the Niger Delta region, code-named ‘Operation Moses.’
“While ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’ is aimed at ensuring the combat readiness of the Nigerian Army in amphibious and internal security operations in the Niger Delta, as well as check criminal activities like kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, piracy and other forms of criminal activities spearheaded by the NDA in the region, MEND’s ‘Operation Moses’ is essentially to inform, educate and generally sensitise the citizenry in the Niger Delta, particularly the government, the youths, oil companies, elders and militant community on the need to ceasefire and support the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its determined bid to proffer sustainable solutions to the current Niger Delta crisis.”
It urged all states, local governments, oil and gas companies and law-abiding citizens in the Niger Delta to “go about their lawful and legitimate concerns, without any iota of fear, stressing that it had received firm assurances from the Federal Government that ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’ was an innocuous exercise in the national interest.
It said its ‘Operation Moses’ would be anchored by the Aaron Team 2 Dialogue, Peace and Development Initiative, jointly led by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia, SAN and King Alfred Diette-Spiff, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass in Bayelsa State.
The militant group said: “Operation Moses shall commence with a visit by the distinguished members of the Aaron Team 2 to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja between August 22, 2016 and August 26, 2016.
“Thereafter, the Team shall hold sessions with top executives of major indigenous and international oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on August 29 and 30, 2016 in Abuja. The focus of the sessions shall include local content development, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/host community relations, etc.
“On September 5 and 6, 2016 in Abuja, the MEND Aaron Team shall hold sessions with the top echelon of security agencies in Nigeria and the top management of the intervention agencies in the Niger Delta: Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Presidential Amnesty Office. The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation is expected to personally attend these sessions. The focus of the sessions shall include extension of presidential amnesty to certain categories of political prisoners in Nigeria, fundamental human rights, NDDC Act in focus; Presidential Amnesty Proclamation 2009 in focus; collapse of federal infrastructure in the Niger Delta, Calabar-Lagos rail line and the East-West Road among others.
“After these critical sessions, Operation Moses shall move to tour the nine states in the Niger Delta region, commencing with Rivers State between September 12, 2016 and September 14, 2016. Between September 15, 2016 and September 18, 2016, the Aaron Team shall be in Bayelsa state. Between September19, 2016 and September 21, 2016, the team shall be in Delta state. From Thursday, September 22, 2016 to Sunday, September 25, 2016 the Aaron Team shall be in Akwa Ibom State. Between September 26, 2016 and September 29, 2016, the team shall be in Abia and Imo States and finally between October 3, 2016 and October 7, 2016, the Aaron Team shall be in Edo and Ondo States.”