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MEND threatens to call off ceasefire

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By Emma Amaize
WARRI— MOVEMENT for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, said yesterday it would likely call off the ceasefire it declared in the wake of Henry Okah’s release last year, as the Federal Government was yet to meet its demands.

Spokesman for the militant group, Jomo Gbomo, in an exclusive electronic mail response to Vanguard inquiry said, “The ceasefire will very likely be called off; this has nothing to do with President Umaru Yar’ Adua’s illness or his unwillingness to hand over to the Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.

“It is clear to us that the government is unable to consider our demands at this time. More persuasion will be required to convince legislators and the government on the need for a constitutional amendment regarding the Niger Delta.”

Meanwhile, ex-militants militants whose attacks in Nigeria led to the shutdown of Chevron Corp’s (CVX) platform years ago, said they were ready to let the company return if it would respect their demand of community development.

Dow Jones, an international energy agency, reported yesterday that the news underscored Nigeria’s potential of further production recovery, adding that “the disarmament of the militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta last year has already led to an output increase from about 1.6 million barrels a day to about two million barrels a day”

According to Dow Jones, one of the ex-militants, General Aduma, in a telephone interview, said they would want Chevron to come back if it agreed to their demands…in the form of development for the community.

Spokesman for the ex-militants, Fawei Tombra, said:  “Following a spill, unrest escalated in 2003 and 2004 in the Foropa community, from where the ex-militants hail, leading to the shutdown of the Chevron-operated Middleton oil platform.”

Tombra, who appeared to be speaking from a disbanded militant camp in Krifori, Bayelsa State, added said since then, there had been no operation on that platform

“We sacked Chevron from our community, if they agree to my demands, there will be no trouble,” he asserted
The agency quoted a spokesman of Chevron as saying that “we’re not going to publicly speculate on the matter.”

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