The movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has accepted responsibility for the attack on the Forcados Crude Oil Export pipeline at Batan area of Delta State.
The Niger Delta militant group said the attack was not authorised by its high command but was carried out by its Commander of the Western Delta, CWD.
MEND insisted that the action was as a result of perceived betrayal on the part of the Pan Niger Delta Dialogue Committee that met with President Muhammadu Buhari on November 1.
According to a statement issued by the group’s spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, the unauthorized attack was carried out because the Niger Delta leaders failed to spell out the agreement earlier reached by the group with the Federal Government before the November 1 meeting, alleging betrayal by some Niger Delta leaders.
MEND said in the statement: “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) takes full responsibility for the Trans-Forcados Crude Export pipeline attack in the Batan area of Delta State on Wednesday, November 2, 2016.
“The attack was however, unauthorized by our high command; given the fact that the MEND unilateral ceasefire of hostility against Nigeria’s oil and gas assets declared May 30, 2014 is still in force.
“Nevertheless, the unauthorized attack by our Commander Western Delta (CWD), was to express the disapproval of MEND fighters at the Chief Edwin Clark-led PANDEF for failing to list out in clear terms, as agreed, the concessions already secured between MEND and the Federal Government to President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 during a courtesy visit.
“MEND fighters were also upset to see several ‘vultures’ among the PANDEF delegation comprising dead wood and corrupt politicians; so-called activists; a crook who leads an effete tribal youth assembly; shameless men and women, who had gone to make demands on a Northern President; demands they couldn’t make from their own son, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan when he was at the helm. These ‘vultures’ actively participated and reveled in a conspiracy of silence and looting of our common patrimony throughout the six years Mr. Jonathan was privileged to lead Africa’s most important country.
“Had Mr. Jonathan won the 2015 presidential election, the ‘vultures’ would certainly not have bothered to make any demands on him.
“Among the concessions secured by MEND was the release of the Okah brothers – Henry and Charles; together with two others who were all framed on trumped-up charges following the October 1, 2010 bomb blast; grant of presidential amnesty to 7 soldiers who were deliberately discriminated and by-passed during the 2009 presidential amnesty program because they were non-Ijaws; release of Urhobo freedom fighters, who are currently detained at the Department of State Services (DSS) and other political detainees inherited from the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
“The meetings between MEND and the Federal Government that led to these concessions were confirmed by President Muhammadu Buhari in person sometime in July, 2016 during his farewell remarks to the outgoing German Ambassador Mr. Michael Zinner.
“We are however, quick to emphasize and restate that MEND regrets the unauthorized and hasty action of the CWD, who is now facing severe disciplinary action. Within the preceding six months of this year, MEND has worked assiduously to bring peace to the troubled Niger Delta region and hereby assures Nigerians and the international community of our unflinching support for President Buhari’s efforts to bring permanent peace to the region. To avoid a repeat of the unfortunate incident, we have accordingly communicated to all our commanders that the concessions secured by MEND were actually captured as the second point – “Law and Justice Issues” in the overall 16-point agenda of PANDEF.
“Our fighters have sufficiently been made to understand that the ambiguous reference to the subject shall be addressed by the Federal Government and MEND representatives in PANDEF after a dialogue team is constituted by the Federal Government. MEND, therefore, urges its fighters and supporters to remain patient and calm,” Jomo Gbomo said.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews…
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