By Samuel OyadonghaÂ & Austin Ogwuda
Condemnations, yesterday, trailed Monday’s bomb explosions by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, which abortedÂ the two-day post-amnesty dialogue by Vanguard Newspapers at the Government House Annex, Warri, Delta State.
However, the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Yakubu Alkali,Â said the explosions could have been disastrous but for the precautionary measures put in place. MEND claimed responsibility for the explosions which reportedly killed one person.
In its reaction to the bomb explosions, Action Congress, AC, in a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the explosions negated all efforts to restore peace to the Niger Delta.
AC argued that reverting to attacks against oil facilities and other acts of violence, as threatened by MEND, will not advance the course of peace. It, therefore, appealed to MENDÂ to give peace a chance in the oil region.
It warned, however, that all stakeholders, especially the nine governors of the states in the Niger Delta, must refrain from inciting and insulting comments as the one describing MEND as a paper tiger which only existed in the minds of a few people.
â€œWhile negotiating peace, it is necessary for all stakeholders to refrain from making such incendiary comments like the one attributed to some governors in the Niger Delta.
â€œSuch careless comments helped trigger the latest action by MEND. Of course, it is the height of ignorance – or perhaps of deliberate mischief – for anyone to seek to belittle MENDâ€™s role in the search for peace in the Niger Delta. But now that MEND has made its point, it should refrain from any act that can throw the region back to those days of endless violence,â€ AC said.
AC calls Vanguard publishers patriots
It commended the publishers of the Vanguard Newspapers for organising the post-amnesty dialogue, describing them as patriots who are seeking to fill the void created by the governmentâ€™s inaction since the end of the amnesty programme.
â€œWe believe the organisers of the dialogue meant well, and that they were not responsible for the actions that led to the attacks that brought the talks to an abrupt end,â€ AC said.
Relatedly, the leadership of AC in Bayelsa State also condemned MEND for the bomb attack, describing it as barbaric and a development that has exposed the poor implementation of amnesty programme of the Federal Government.
The party, through its Acting chairman, Mr. Ebikibina Miriki, said the action of MEND at the conference was unfortunate and unwelcomed at a time the nation is witnessing various political challenges and is being labeled a terrorist-haven by the United States of America.
According to Ebikibina: â€œthe bomb blast witnessed is unfortunate, sad and unhelpful to the amnesty programme. The Gestapo action should be condemned, most especially at a critical moment when the country is battling with credibility problem. The party sues for peace and restraints from acts capable of derailing the amnesty process and avoid acts that may query the credibility of the Acting President.â€
Also condemning the bomb explosion, The Netherlands-based Hope for Niger Delta Campaign, HNDC, argued that the bomb attack was not in the interest of the region.
According to its Founder/President, Mr. Sunny Ofehe, in an online statement, â€œpeaceful agitation remains the best approach to the Niger Delta struggle.â€
â€œWe must continue to encourage dialogue and discussions whilst we stand up in condemnation against any group (s) or person (s) trying to disrupt any gathering and portray the good and peaceful-loving people of the Niger Delta in bad light.
Bayelsa Police beef-up security
Meanwhile, security operatives in Bayelsa State have been put on red alert following the explosions in Warri.
Talking with newsmen in Yenagoa, the Commissioner of Police, Elder Onuoha Udeka, said the command had no choice but to reinforce security around its border posts.