By Etop Ekanem
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has a new commander who has directed “affiliate militant groups to support President Muhammadu Buhari in this year’s polls,” while warning groups planning oil facilities vandalism to desist.
According to the group’s spokesman in a statement, Tuesday, Jomo Gbomo, “although MEND didn’t officially accept the Federal Government’s Amnesty Programme feared to end in 2015, President Buhari has, till date, kept faith with a programme that has positively impacted on youth development in the region.
“Amidst other development efforts stalled by funding problems from dwindling oil-based economy partly occasioned by oil assets vandalism, it is MEND’s view that President Buhari’s re-election bid be supported to enable him demonstrate avowed love for the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
“Accordingly, we inform that this peaceful approach is not cowardice and warn militant groups to shun vandalism of oil facilities. It is reasonable we suspend strategies like oil facilities vandalism that will endanger the environment, help government throw up economic concerns for lack of development action and unwittingly create death-dealing military face-off with defenceless civil populace, before we are willing to go for broke.
“In giving this support, we know the world is watching, notes this peaceful path and hopes that President Muhammadu Buhari will reciprocate rather than fritter away this sufficient goodwill freely given for his re-election/stay in power. We wish to also affirm that MEND remains committed to the good of the Niger Delta.”