BY ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH
Barely 48 hours after the Lagos state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fasola (SAN) condemned the attack on the Atlas Cove jetty in Lagos by Movement for the EmancipationÂ of Niger /Delta (MEND), president and founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr Frederick Fasehun has cautioned that a repeat of such incident in any part of Yoruba land will attract severe retaliation.
Dr Fasehun noted at a press conference in Lagos that his investigations revealed that the attack on the jetty as claimed by MEND was carried out by a dissident group within the movement.
He however said that any slight attack by any group against Yoruba people and its territory would be regarded as an affront against Yoruba people, which will not be tolerated.
According to him, Yoruba people, especially OPC, has always been sympathetic to the struggle and course of the people of the Niger/Delta. He wondered the latest attack on the Lagos Atlas Cove which he said was meant to punish the people of the South / West.
Fasehun lamented that majority of the casualties recorded at the scene of the incident were Yorubas.
â€œWe viewed MENDâ€™ss attack on the Atlas Cove with a measure of discomfort. That bombing left collateral damages not just on the key Federal Government facilities; it left deaths in its trail. Some lives and property lost were those of Yoruba people.
And as an organization sworn to defend Yoruba interest anywhere in this country, OPC will be behaving out of character and calling, if it keeps quite.â€
He observed that though his group recognized â€œthe environmental and socio economic devastations that engineered the Niger/ Delta struggles.â€
He however, enjoined the fighters in MEND not to â€œtake action directly or indirectly that will suggest that Yoruba land is under attack from agitators who should rather regard us as well wishers and mediators.â€
Condemning the attack, he said if they (MEND) did not refrain from such attack in future, â€œMEND should know that OPC has the capacity to return fire for fire. So, MEND should not provoke any unnecessary crisis between us.â€
The OPC leader also called on the Federal Government on its part to â€œbegin the implementation of recommendations proffered by the several panels established on the Niger/ Delta, fro pre-independence to the 2008 Niger/ Delta technical committee headed by Ledum Mittee. We especially viewed the resting of the recommendations of the Ledum Mittee committee as flagrant demonstrations of insincerity on the part of the government.
â€œWe request that the superlative resolutions of Mittee committee be unearthed and implemented immediately, as a matter of national emergency.â€
He also called on the Federal Government to consider the issue of self determination and resource control â€œthat motivated the struggles which must be settled with the introduction of true federalism and a new constitution agreed at a completely unfettered sovereign national conference.â€
He also suggested that the government should introduced a short-term stop gap measure where-in the Niger/ Delta altercations can be amicably resolved at a conference to be supervised by prominent Nigerians and civil society groups.