By George Onah
Less than 72 hoursÂ after disowning Elder Statesman and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin K. Clark, but recanting almost immediately, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), has again disowned another Ijaw helmsman and President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Dr. Chris Ekiyor.
MEND, which said Ekiyor was on his own over his statements on the Federal Governmentâ€™s amnesty and the ongoing blowing of pipelines in the region, said it had not interacted with the regional youth leader and alluded to him as an alleged â€œliar and opportunistâ€.
In an online statement, yesterday, signed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, MEND said, â€œThe Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) categorically denies any interaction with Dr. Chris Ekiyor, President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) over the issue of the on-going attacks or government amnesty offer.
â€œWe are aware that there are many opportunist groups and individuals that take advantage of situations such as this to make themselves relevant by acting as middlemen.
â€œMEND has outlined its strategy as far as Hurricane Moses is concerned and when we choose to have a team speak on our behalf, we will make it public. Any one purporting to speak on our behalf at this time or claiming to convince us to change a divine strategy is a liar and should be disregarded.â€
However, Chairman of Rivers State Social Rehabilitation Committee, Chief Albert Horsfall, told the press in Port Harcourt that the true militants were those who felt that the people of the core Niger Delta have been oppressed and marginalised and took up arms to fight the injustice.
He said, â€œThe only true militants that I see are those who felt a sense of nationalism, because they felt the area, Niger Delta, not the nine states being touted as Niger Delta, have been oppressed and marginalised and decided to take up arms rightly or wrongly.â€
It is a matter of judgementâ€.
The former national security chief said the lifestyle of militants was hopeless, but noted that the committee was reaching out to the rural areas, including creeks and other far flung areas in the hinterland to enlighten and â€œto remove from them the attraction of becoming militants.
â€œThe fling is that even when they make quick moves as sometimes they do, killing people and doing mischief, they canâ€™t spend this money prudently. Militancy with a criminal inclination is a dead-end because even if they make money they canâ€™t spend it.â€