By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”LEADER of the Aaron team of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, and former Chief of General Staff, CGS, Vice Admiral Mike Okhai Akhigbe (rtd) has confessed that he knew nothing about the modus operandi of the militant group.
Speaking to Vanguard, yesterday, on the abortion of its two-day post-amnesty dialogueÂ in Warri by the militant group, which detonated two bombs, 200 meters away from the Government House Annex, Warri venue of the talks, Vice-Admiral Akhigbe said he has not even been able to contact either Henry Okah or MEND since the incident.
He said Henry Okah is not based in the country, but, in South-Africa and that had made the line of communication between the two of them difficult in the past few days.
In his words,Â â€œMy brief with MEND has nothing to do with its operational method; it only has to do with the negotiations with the Federal Government on its demands for peace in the Niger-Delta regionâ€.
The former PDP presidential aspirant was invited for the Vanguard post-amnesty dialogue and was due Warri on Tuesday for the conference, but,Â the bombs were detonated on Monday, the first day of the programme.
Henry Okah, who is the assumed leader of MEND, told Vanguard when contacted few minutes after the explosions in Warri that information about the bomb blasts had just reached him. He asked for time to find out what happened.
Spokesman of the militant group who was also contacted by VanguardÂ on why it aborted a post-amnesty dialogue by the paper, the media pace-setter on the Niger-Delta struggle, said it had no comments to make and no apology to make to anybody for its actions.
More outrage in N-Delta over bomb blasts
THERE was more outrage in the Niger- Delta yesterday over Mondayâ€™s bomb blasts by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, that disrupted two-day post-amnesty dialogue organised by Vanguard Newspapers.
Former national chairman of the Traditional Rulers ofÂ Oil MineralsÂ Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, His Royal Majesty, Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu said, â€œI want to condemn in its entirety the bomb blasts in Warri, knowing fully well that the main plank of the two- day talk-shop was to remind both the State and Federal Governments not to consign the post-amnesty programme to the dust bin, but to fast track and pursue it vigorously in order to provide the much needed human capital and infrastructural development in the Niger Delta region.
On its part, the president of the Ijaw Youth Council worldwide, Dr. Chris Ekiyopr condemned bombing the venue of the conference, saying, â€œThe council strongly feels that the action amount to shooting oneself on the foot if the claim by MEND is anything to go byâ€
â€œSuch conference aimed at forcing the government to action and organised by Vanguard should have been a welcomed event by all as its outcome would throw new challenges for the government.
â€œThose behind the bombing certainly donâ€™t want the crisis to end, I thought such aggrieved group, whether MEND or any other group, should have seized the opportunity to bring quality debate to the forum that can help drive the process further. It is even more appalling that MEND that enjoys so much media attention via the efforts of Vanguard will make a Vanguard programme its target”.