The Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has given theÂ Federal Government two weeks ultimatum to commence negotiations withÂ its Aaron Team on the Niger Delta problem or force the militant groupÂ to adopt another strategy to make it to listen.This is coming on the heels of allegations by elders and leaders fromÂ Bayelsa State that some aides of President Muhammadu Buhari areÂ frustrating the negotiation with members of the Niger Delta AvengersÂ (NDA).
MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, in a statement which he tagged â€˜Right ofÂ Replyâ€™ to a recent article â€˜President Buhari sharpens Focus on NigerÂ Deltaâ€™ by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media,
Mallam Garba Shehu, surprisingly named Government Ekpemupolo akaÂ Tompolo as part of the new 10-man Aaron team led by former Minister,Â Odein Ajumogbobia.
Gbomo stated that the Buhari government should not be deceived by theÂ intervention of the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group (NDDCG) ledÂ by King Alfred Diete-Spiff, noting that members of the group wereÂ silent for six years when former President Goodluck Jonathan held swayÂ in Aso Rock and did nothing to draw the attention of the PresidencyÂ then to the lingering Niger Delta problem. According to MEND, while itÂ is not opposed to the Federal Government negotiating with the NDA, theÂ Buhari government should not be deluded that the negotiation with theÂ NDA would automatically resolve the Niger Delta problem.Â MEND which recalled that it backed Buhari in the 2015 PresidentialÂ election because Jonathan though from the Niger Delta was notÂ interested in dialogue to resolve the problems of the region, statedÂ that it would not sanction any negotiation with the National SecurityÂ Adviser because the office lacks executive powers.
â€œFor the avoidance of doubt, the MEND Aaron Team shall not dialogueÂ with the NSA given that the office of the NSA lacks executive power.
Given also the fact that the root issues surrounding the Niger DeltaÂ question are on the exclusive legislative list. Given further, theÂ fact that the proposed dialogue is not an interrogatory session.
â€œWe therefore hope that the Federal Government shall reach out to theÂ Aaron Team Leader, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia to signal government intentionÂ to commence the dialogue. If after two weeks from the date ofÂ publication of this Right of Reply we didnâ€™t hear from the FederalÂ Government, MEND shall safely assume that the government is truly notÂ sincere about dialogue on the Niger Delta question and responds onlyÂ to the threat of violence or industrial action,â€ Gbomo said.
Meanwhile, prominent elders and traditional rulers from the eightÂ local government council areas of Bayelsa State on Friday alleged thatÂ some of the aides of President Muhammadu Buhari from the region areÂ frustrating the proposed dialogue between the Federal Government andÂ the new militant groups led by the Niger Delta Avengers.
According to the elders, though the decision of President MuhammaduÂ Buhari to lead the proposed dialogue is commendable, the show ofÂ deceit, fraud and discordant tunes among the presidential aides fromÂ the region have created a huge doubt between the militant youths andÂ the present administration.
The elders under the aegis of Bayelsa Elders for Progress, Peace andÂ Good Governance (BEPPGG) and led by the coordinator, High ChiefÂ Ayibatonye Goodnews and secretary, Chief Lucky Ebifaghe, declared thatÂ the recent activities of key aides from the region including theÂ Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and the coordinator ofÂ the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh are
allegedly frustrating the peace efforts of the present administration.
The concerned elders, in an open letter to the president insisted thatÂ â€œPresident Buhari should investigate the genuineness of purportedÂ meetings held between Boroh and Kachikwu.
â€œHow can they claim to have met stakeholders and the militant attacksÂ continue? They met some fake militants and stakeholders and wastedÂ scarce resources of the Federal Government on jamboree.â€
â€œThe Amnesty boss, who claimed to have relocated to the creeks of theÂ region, was only sighted in Tompoloâ€™s community holding clandestineÂ meetings without solution to the continued bombing of the oil and gasÂ facilities. Buhari should investigate the money expended on theÂ jamboree without result. We insist that the Presidential AmnestyÂ Office should be probed following the alleged failed sharing of
resources to fake Avengers,â€ the letter stated.
Culled from Vanguard.