•Says Clark lacks moral ground to speak on restructuring
•Drums support for military presence in Niger Delta
At a time it looked like people of the Niger Delta were about engendering a common front to initiate peace and speak with one voice, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has thrown spanners into the works by urging the Federal Government to reject the resolutions in the communique issued at the end of the Niger Delta Coastal States stakeholders’ meeting held last Friday in Warri, Delta State.
MEND said convener of the forum, elder statesman and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa lacked the moral rectitude to oversee a stakeholders’ meeting let alone speak for the people of the region or restructuring of the country.
Spokesperson for MEND, Jomo Gbomo, in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday, said none of the elders and leaders at the meeting had the capacity to lead discussion on restructuring of the country.
He said the communique issued after the one-day meeting categorically did not condemn the heinous activities of the rampaging members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) who had, since January, held the country’s oil-economy by the jugular through bombing of oil and gas installations.
“The attention of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been drawn to a meeting of the Niger Delta Coastal States held in Warri, Delta State on Friday, August 19, 2016.
The meeting was jointly convened by elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State,” Gbomo stated.
While picking holes in the communique in order to convince the Federal Government to ignore the recommendations, MEND said: “the Communique failed to categorically condemn the criminal and treasonable activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
This was principally because, notable promoter of the meeting, Chief Edwin Clark was recently named by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) as a major supporter of the NDA.”
It added that “Chief Edwin Clark lacks the moral authority to lead a discussion on the so-called “re-structuring” of the Nigerian Federation, at this critical point in the country’s history; given the fact that, through-out the 6 years his “son” former President Goodluck Jonathan was in power, the elder statesman kept mute and actively participated in the economic dismemberment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In fact, Chief Clark’s Abuja residence was an extension of the State House,” the group alleged.
MEND also opined that “None of the persons who attended the Stakeholders meeting convened by Chief Clark and Governor Okowa have the capacity to persuade the people of the Niger Delta region to support the current efforts of the Buhari Administration to bring peace and development to the region.”
Contrary to a clarion call against deployment of more military personnel and hardware to the region, the proscribed militant group called on the FG to ensure more presence of the military in the region to curtail the criminal activities of the Avengers.
“Consequently, MEND re-iterates its full support for the ongoing military presence in the Niger Delta region; even as we prepare to tour the region to drum support for the current Administration in an exercise code-named “OPERATION MOSES.”
MEND shall continue to insist that; so long as these elders and stakeholders do not categorically and publicly denounce the NDA, the Federal Government should also continue to ignore them.” it submitted.