* MEND apologizes to Chief Clark
By Emma Amaize
WARRI- MOVEMENT for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) yesterday bombed the Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL)-owned Okan manifold, which controls about 80 per cent of the companyâ€™s off shore crude oil to its BOP Crude Loading Platform in Delta State.
The group also made a volte face on its disowning, Sunday, of the leader of Ijaw ethnic nationality and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Clark and other Niger-Delta elders who have remained vociferous in their demand for cessation of hostilities in the region, immediate release of all detained militants, including Henry Okah and support for the amnesty offer of the Federal Government.
MENDâ€™s spokesman, Jomo Gbomo in an online statement,said, â€œMEND has the highest regards for its elders, including Papa Clark, but the struggle is now a regional one where every tribe in the region is a stakeholder. We appeal to Papa Clark not to take anything personal because this is not about himâ€.
Chief Clark himself was furious on Sunday when he reacted to his alleged disowning by MEND in a chat with Vanguard, asking, â€œWho is MEND to disown us, what are they fighting for, they cannot disown us, as elders, we speak for the people of the Niger-Delta and what we are saying is that we want peace in the Niger-Delta, they should stop bombing of oil installations and accept amnestyâ€.
The Ijaw leader, however, told Vanguard that as a father, â€œI want to appeal to the armed youths to drop their arms and accept the amnesty by the Federal Government, I wonâ€™t disown them, they are my children but what should be uppermost in the minds of every Niger-Deltan should be things that will bring development to the peopleâ€.
The militant group cited the alleged abduction of a royal father in Delta state, His Royal Majesty, Isaac Thikan by the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta as reason for its action.
Coordinator of the Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC) of the task force, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, two days ago, denied the security outfit arrested the said monarch.
On the Sunday bombing of CNL facility, MEND spokesmanÂ stated, â€œ The strategic Okan manifold which controls about 80 percent of Chevron Nigeria Limited off shore crude oil to its BOP Crude Loading PlatformÂ was blown up at about 2045 Hrs on Sunday, June 5, 2009 by Hurricane Moses in Delta stateâ€.
His words, â€œAs long as the Nigerian government and military JTF has chosen to carry out kidnappings and arson against innocent communities and individuals, Moses will fight for themâ€.
â€œWe are demanding that the abducted monarch who is still being held illegally by the JTF be released immediately or charged to a competent court of law.
â€œGovernment should display the highest form of integrity and sincerity over the detention of Henry Okah at this period of his fading healthâ€, MEND asserted
According to it, â€œOur fighting force has been boosted by volunteers made up of men and women from all tribes and beyondâ€.
â€œIt is very encouraging to see the people break away from the status quo and we call on every Niger- Deltan to make a sacrifice, as we head towards the promised landâ€, it added.