By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, accused the Federal Government of hypocrisy in the release of detained leader of the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, saying it has no business consulting with Angola and Equatorial Guinea before releasing him because he had no case to answer.
Speaking yesterday at his country home at Kiagbodo in Delta State while playing host to the national executive members of the Labour Party, led by the National Chairman, Mr. Dan Nwanyanwu, who paid a courtesy visit, Clark said it was shocking that the Federal Government, which granted Okah amnesty was giving conditions to Isarel, Egypt and other countries before he would be treated there for his kidney problem.
Chief Clark warned that the much trumpeted amnesty of the Federal Government, which the people have accepted in principle, would fail if certain things were not done to create conducive atmosphere for the people to accept it voluntarily.
â€œIt is not sufficient for the Federal Government to proclaim amnesty and think that it will solve the problem. There must be a development package and the people want to know what the package is between now and December.
â€œWe have accepted amnesty in principle but there are certain things to be done to provide a conducive atmosphere for the amnesty to succeed and one of them is that you donâ€™t grant amnesty to people who are faced with guns, you are intimidating them.
â€œTherefore, the Federal Government should withdraw the Joint Task Force (JTF) to their base and let the people be free in their area so that they will accept the amnesty voluntarily.
â€œA situation where areas like Okerenkoko which had been burnt down, you have well over 200 soldiers staying in that place, how do you return people there?Â Oporoza, Kurutie, Kunukunuma, Benikurukuru, the people have all migrated and you said you are granting them amnesty, this is wrongâ€, he added.
Earlier, Labour Party National Chairman, Mr. Nwanyanwu, commended Clark for his principled position on matters affecting the Niger-Delta and the nation, saying the national executive was in Kiagbodo to sympathize with the victims of the Cordon and Search operation in Gbaramatu kingdom by the JTF.
The party brought 50 bags of rice and 50 bags of salt for onward delivery to the displaced persons through the Ijaw leader.
Barrister Nwanyanwu said the Nigerian nation has not been fair to the people of the Niger-Delta and ought to apologize to them for the degradation and sufferings it has subjected the people to over the years.
He asked government to come out with a clear-cut programme to develop the area,Â adding that a situation where the government has not taken a definite action on the report of the Niger-Delta Technical Committee, headed by Mr.. Ledum Mitee about six months after its report was submitted, was most unjust to the people.
He was, however, quick to add that the party does not support hostage taking and other violent acts by criminals in the region.