Niger Delta group threatens to resume hostilities Friday
Niger Delta militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), said it will on Friday in Nigeria resume hostilities, code-named “Huriccane Exodus” to protest the conviction of ex-leader henry Okah in south Africa, based on a “forged letter”.A statement issued on Wednesday by MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, said that the group would with effect from tomorrow April 5, 2013, commence sustained attacks.
“Hurricane Exodus is a direct repercussion of a forged threat letter contrived by the Nigerian and South African governments purporting to have originated from MEND.
“This fake letter was used as evidence against Henry Okah for which a 13-year sentence was passed. To make matters worse, the prosecution’s second witness Mr. Sele Victor-Ben exclaimed in court that the letter was a fake one after failing to catch the prosecutor’s eye who wanted him to lie under oath,” they said.
“We are now determined to conjure this imaginary trumped up threat into a painful reality,” the statement said.
According to Gbomo, the attacks will be sustained until an unreserved apology is offered to MEND, and the Nigerian government shows its willingness to dialogue the same way they are willing to do with Boko Haram.
However, the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, has deployed troops in the oil-rich region.
JTF spokesman Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu said security agents had been alerted and the development had prompted the task force to effect a redeployment in the Niger Delta.
He advised MEND to be orderly in addressing whatever grievance it has and to desist from any action that would upset the peace and development of the Niger Delta.
“What Niger Deltans are in dire need of now is peace for sustainable development, having emerged from the dark days of turbulence in the region,” Nwachukwu said.
Reacting to the warning by MEND, the Leadership Forum for Peace in Niger Delta (LFPND), a group comprising former leaders of ex-militants in the region, warned groups and individuals planning war to desist from this or be ready to face the consequences of their actions.
LFPND leader, Pastor Reuben Wilson, said that the threat by MEND and the Coalition of Concerned Ex-Agitators and the Social Restoration Foundation (SOREF), over allegations bordering on implementation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, was an act of wickedness and ingratitude to the Federal Government that had shown so much commitment to the amnesty programme.
Reuben, who accused the groups of not acting in the interest of the Niger Delta, warned of dire consequences should anyone breach the prevailing peace in the oil producing areas.
According to Reuben, all ex-militants are living witnesses to the impact of the amnesty progamme on the economy of Nigeria and on the lives of the youths that are today being trained as aircraft pilots, engineers and oil and gas industry professionals.