MEND in a statement yesterday, May 22, reportedly used harsh words on the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which it said ran the country aground and “pauperized the Nigerian people to the alarming degree we all experience today.”
A statement issued by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, which charged emergent Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, blowing up oil installations in the Niger Delta to give President Muhammadu Buhari more time to stabilize the country, claimed that Jonathan’s government was “ill-fated, corrupt and visionless.”
Daily Post reports that MEND, while distancing itself from the NDA, stressed that the sudden emergence of the militant group has absolutely nothing to do with the Niger Delta struggle but was a ploy by certain elements to destabilise the present Buhari government.
The statement read: “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 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.
“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 grundnorm and put to practice.
“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.
“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.
Meanwhile, if the report by Leadership newspaper is anything to go by, the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and first Presidential Adviser on the Amnesty Programme, Timi Alaibe, may return to the post. A source in the presidency squealed that that President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to bring back Alaibe who has huge influence in the Niger Delta region.
Alaibe is credited with reconciling, rehabilitating and reintegrating ex-militants into the society after they laid down their arms in 2009
In a related development, more details of corrupt transaction seems to be pilling up against the embattled former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki as investigation has begun into the disappearance of $40 million. Dasuki is facing charges over the misappropriation of $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms and has been in detention since 2015.
The Nation reports that $40 million which is about N13.6 billion was approved by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan to negotiate a ceasefire with Boko Haram and also to release the abducted Chibok girls.
The money was withdrawn for the negotiation but it was later revealed that the terrorist rejected the offer but the whereabouts of the money is unknown.
The federal government has begun a probe into how the money disappeared as it was drawn from the office of the national security adviser. One report suggested that the money was handed over to the president of a neighbouring country, while another said it was in the ‘custody’ of a former presidential aide.
A top source said: “The government is probing how about $40million was allegedly spent by the administration of ex-President Jonathan to ‘negotiate’ with Boko Haram. The cash was allegedly withdrawn from the ONSA account by a former presidential aide.
“The said aide alleged that the cash was routed through the Presidents of a neighbouring country, but preliminary tracking showed that the money might have been diverted.
“Many people have been linked with the negotiation, but the government, through relevant anti-graft agencies, is trying to ascertain the whereabouts of the funds. We have started inviting those connected with the deal for interaction. “Even the ex-President in January 2016 said in an interview with a news website, Quartz, in Geneva, Switzerland that his administration did not set up any negotiation team.”
Jonathan denied any negotiation with the terrorists which lends more worry into how the withdrawn money got missing.