By Tom Amakri, Port Harcourt
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has “categorically and unequivocally” passed a vote of no confidence in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari over the handling of Niger Delta crises.
MEND, in an online statement by its Spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, stated that its latest decision was without prejudice to the pre-2015 presidential election endorsement, freely and voluntarily given to President Buhari on January 6, 2015.
“Prior to and after his (President Buhari’s) reluctant meeting with the traditional rulers, opinion leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta region, under the auspices of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) on November 1, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari has been carrying on arrogantly and making controversial, prejudicial, conflicting and contradictory statements about the politics and economy of the oil-rich region.
“Since after he assumed the reins, President Buhari has always, for reasons best known to him, held the Niger Delta region in contempt, while accusing and/or blackmailing the leadership of the region of not being ready for dialogue, whereas it is the Federal Government who is not ready or willing to name a team to dialogue with the people.
“Prior to the inauguration of PANDEF, the several sessions of dialogue held between representatives of MEND, on the one hand; and those of the Federal Government, on the other hand; where concessions were secured for the release of the Okah brothers and several other political detainees and prisoners of conscience, was a grand deception on the part of the Federal Government.
“After the MEND/FG dialogue, which was publicly confirmed by no less a person than President Buhari in his farewell remarks to Mr. Michael Zinner, the outgoing German ambassador to Nigeria, President Buhari reneged on the agreements reached at the dialogue.
“Following on the heels of the breach of the agreements, President Buhari personally wrote and signed a damaging and prejudicial letteretter to the Government of South Africa, in an attempt to wilfully truncate the ongoing peace process in Nigeria, sabotage the legal options open to Henry Okah and simultaneously influence the ongoing trial of Charles Okah & others at the Federal High Court in Abuja in favour of the Federal Government.
“Based on the foregoing premises, we hereby demand that President Buhari must put a stop to his cunning, crafty and unstatesmanlike rhetoric about the Niger Delta region, as they have only served the purpose of jeopardising the fragile peace in the region and consequently direct the relevant agency of government to
immediately commence dialogue with the Niger Delta region, as duly and
ably represented by PANDEF.”
MEND also told the Federal Government that all Niger Delta militant commanders and/or individuals who were tracked and arrested while observing a ceasefire, ahead of talks with the Federal Government, should be treated well.