The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta on Wednesday faulted the ultimatum issued to the Federal Government to form a negotiation team in the oil-rich region.
MEND also dissociated itself from the press conference granted by Pan-Niger Delta Forum on July 31, 2017, even as it recalled its members from the forum led by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.
The militant group pointed out that the recall was necessary in order to pave the way for consultation with them, adding that the withdrawal of its members from the forum was with immediate effect.
It maintained that Clark and His Royal Highness, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, lacked the moral justification to give the Federal Government an ultimatum.
MEND stressed that the duo had no justification to make demands that they (Clark and Diette-Spiff) never made from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
A statement signed by MEND’s spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, partly read, “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta dissociates itself from the hypocritical press conference called on Monday, July 31st, 2017 in Abuja by the Pan-Niger Delta Forum.
“PANDEF, led by elder statesmen Chief Edwin Clark and His Royal Highness King Alfred Diette -Spiff, lack the moral justification in giving an ultimatum to the Federal Government and making demands they never made from Goodluck Jonathan when he was at the helm for six wasted years.”
MEND explained that rather than issue threats through fake Internet-based militant groups, PANDEF ought to have used the opportunity at their disposal to commend the Federal Government for exposing the looting of the nation’s funds by some sons and daughters of the region, including Jonathan and Diezani Alison-Madueke.
It added, “Instead of listening to the so-called Niger Delta activists and the compromised Ijaw Youth Council who have miraculously regained the voices they lost when Jonathan was President, and instead of issuing threats through fake Internet-based militant groups, PANDEF ought to have used the forum and opportunity to commend the Federal Government for exposing the monumental looting of our commonwealth by some sons and daughters of the soil starting from the former President, his wife, Patience, cousins, relatives and cronies and so many other traitors; down to the mind-boggling theft by Diezani Alison-Madueke, who empowered others while her people lived in squalor and abject poverty.
“PANDEF is also pretending not to notice that the amnesty programme is still operating on the corrupt template that still pays ghost militants after it hoodwinked the government into believing in the fraud; a programme that has neglected the children of the dead freedom fighters and those in prison, for those that never made any sacrifice is cursed.
“In view of our irreconcilable differences, MEND hereby recalls its representatives in PANDEF for consultation with immediate effect.”
Meanwhile, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has called on Clark to support the Federal Government.
He expressed disappointment at Clark and members of PANDEF for giving the Federal Government ultimatum to constitute negotiation team to discuss problems facing the Niger Delta region.
Okechukwu, while speaking with journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, advised Clark to support the President Muhammadu Bahari-led Federal Government, rather than engaging in what he described as propaganda.
Clark and his group had recently asked the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, constitute a negotiation team to engage in talks with the region’s stakeholders before November 1.
The Ijaw national leader had warned that youths of the region were becoming impatient over delay in the talks and could return to hostility after the date.
The VON DG, however, asked Clark to ask Niger Delta senators what was holding the signing of the loan to start-up projects in the region as promised by the Federal Government.
Okechukwu, who is also a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, added that the Buhari-led government was working to ensure the delivery of true democracy dividends to Nigerians.
He added that Nigerians had the right to vote out the APC government in 2019 if they were not satisfied with its performance.
He said, “We were given a four-year tenure to start with, and if it suits the Nigerian people they will re-elect the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari again or any other candidate in the APC.
“I was not very impressed with Chief Clark, a man I have respect for because he is sounding as if everybody is opposed to devolution of power.”
Okechukwu noted that Clark, during the Peoples Democratic Party’s administration, had the opportunity to better the lot of the people of Niger Delta but he never did.
He said the elder statesman rather “started building a private university, married a new wife and was enjoying himself without showing seriousness in matters affecting the region and its people.”