By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€”The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) yesterday dismissed the Federal Governmentâ€™s amnesty as lacking integrity, even as it nominated a team of mediators to negotiate with government over the disarmament programme.
According to the group, the team, including Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, and two retired senior military officials, had volunteered to act as mediators on its behalf.
â€œThese eminent persons will be known as the Aaron Team and have our mandate to oversee a transparent and proper MEND disarmament process,â€ Jomo Gbomo, the group spokesman, said in an online statement.
According to him, â€œMEND disarmament process will only come after the root causes of militancy and agitation in the Niger Delta have been addressed by the Nigerian government.â€
It accused the Federal Government of double standard, saying â€œthe Nigerian government so far has not shown a willingness to dialogue, preferring instead to make wild unrealistic threats, purchase more useless military hardware, and dole out bribes to traitors to our noble cause, as had been obvious in its so-called disarmament process.â€
Other members of the Aaron A team include Vice Admiral Okhai Mike Akhigbe (rtd), Major General Luke Kakadu Aprezi (rtd) , Dr. Sabella Ogbobode Abidde and Ms Annkio Briggs.
The hope for peace in the Niger Delta and Nigeria in general, the group said, now rests squarely on the shoulders of the Nigerian government.