â€¢Ex-militants say no to fresh hostilities
By Emma AmaizeÂ & Jimitota Onoyume
MOVEMENT for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), weekend, called off the unilateral fire it declared, Sunday, October 25, 2009 , as exclusively reported by Vanguard, two days ago, but some ex-militant leaders, yesterday, frowned at the plan to resume fresh hostilities.
Sources close to Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo and Victor Ben, alias Boyloaf said, however, that the two ex-militant leaders have no comments on the call-off of ceasefire by MEND, while the former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, said he would want to see the statement of MEND in black and white before making any comment.
However, a former â€œgeneralâ€ of MEND, John Togo, who leads a faction of ex-militants cautioned the militant group on the decision to repudiate the ceasefire, saying this was not the time for hostilities but for dialogue.
He said President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua fell ill after he kick-started the post-amnesty programme and instead of going to war, MEND and ex-militants should give him time to recover and continue with the post-amnesty programme.
MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, in an electronic statement announcing the call off of the ceasefire, said, â€œAfter careful consideration and extensive consultation, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) today, Saturday, January 30, 2010 , has decided to call off a unilateral ceasefire ordered on Sunday, October 25, 2009 .
â€This ceasefire was ordered in the hope that the government of Nigeria would consider true dialogue founded on a sincere desire to bring justice to the people of the Niger Delta, and true peace to Nigeria.
â€œActing like a victor over a conquered people, the government rolled out a list of its plans for the Delta which it assumed would end decades of agitation, promising at the same time to deal with all who remained dissatisfied with its lame effort to re-dress the injustice in the Niger Delta.
â€It is sufficiently clear at this point in time that the government of Nigeria has no intentions of considering the demands made by this group for the control of the resources and land of the Niger Delta to be reverted to the rightful owners, the people of the Niger Delta.â€
The government and oil companies believe the spirit of agitation in the Niger Delta has been blown away with the bribing of a few thugs it has labeled stakeholders. They assume giving alms to the youth of the Delta will secure installations.
â€œ â€˜Concessionsâ€™ suggested by the government in its bid to â€œaddressâ€ the injustice in the Niger Delta include ceding10% of its stake in the joint venture partnerships to oil producing communities and 9% to other interested Nigerians. This suggestion is preposterous!
â€œThe same government that is unable to maintain or repair the death traps called roads or the archaic rail facilities in Nigeria, is promising to build super highways and modern rail lines through the Niger Delta using funds it hopes to realise from divesting 19% of its shares in the joint ventures partnerships.
â€œWhich is an oil producing community to the government of Nigeria ? The Nigerian government in all its wisdom defines an oil producing community as one where oil installations are sited; where oil is drilled or where flow stations and other facilities relevant to the continued bleeding of the Niger Delta and exportation of its mineral resources are found. Does this government not realise that all surrounding communities are sitting atop the same oil deposits and would be producers if their communities were drilled as well?
â€œBy this crude definition, the government will consider Kaduna state and other Northern states where pipelines pass through to the refinery in Kaduna , oil producing states. What gives this government the right to share the resources of the Niger Delta between its cronies in ceding this suggested 19 percent? The Nigerian government claims ownership of the Niger Delta where it dares not do so in the North. The land in the North belongs to Northerners while the Niger Delta belongs to the North as well.
Communities in the Niger Delta without installations suffer the effects of gas flaring, spillages amongst others so why does the Nigerian government not consider these communities in all its planning?
â€œThe answer is simple. This government is hoping it can divide the people of the Delta in order to govern and plunder the Niger Delta. The government and oil companies are hopeful communities with oil installations, designated oil producing communities and rewarded for having these facilities on their soil, will safeguard such installations.