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Forget MEND, dialogue with Avengers, N’Delta elders tell FG 



Militants threaten to execute 24 Nigerian soldiers they allegedly captured
A group, Concerned Niger Delta Elders, CNDE, has warned the Federal Government against making the mistake of going into dialogue with the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND.
According to the group, government should dialogue directly with the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, or its appointed representatives.
According to the group, which appealed to the militant group to cease hostilities, in a statement  issued by Seigha Manijar and Aureol Viviana, whatever resolution reached between the Federal Government and the Avengers, would be a long lasting one rather than going through MEND.
“MEND should speak for itself and not for others. It can speak on behalf of the Avengers if invited to do so. MEND should not arrogate to itself the authority to speak for others outside its ranks”.
The group also warned that negotiating with MEND instead of Avengers would have grave implications, such as conflict of interest, mistrust, non implementation of resolutions among others.
“We understand the Avengers’ demand for foreign observers in the dialogue but we appeal to them to pick their representatives from among the numerous trusted individuals from the Niger Delta such as Dr Timiebi Agary, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd), Timi Alaibe, Prof G.G Darah, Dr Otive Igbuzor, Enemo Samiama, Roland Ekperi, Wilson Ajuwa and Joel Bisina, among others.”
“However, if they are not comfortable with the suggested names, they should feel free to pick their representatives. That will show the world that they are ready for dialogue. The government should also consider the Avengers’ demand of inviting foreign observers as a show of sincerity.”
The CNDC also said it sees no reason for Tompolo to be named in any dialogue team, arguing that his interest or case can always be advanced without being part of the team.
“Tompolo does not necessarily have to be in any negotiation team, whether it is driven by MEND or any other group. What is important is that given the right atmosphere, any group or representatives could discuss Tompolo’s plight, including Henry Okah and others. There is no doubt that Tompolo can be an asset to this government on Niger Delta crisis if well managed.”
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews

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