A militant group in the volatile Niger Delta region, the Niger Delta Warriors, NDW, has warned that releasing the Okah brothers, Henry and Charles, will worsen the current crisis in the region.
The NDW stated this in a statement by its spokesman, Sibiri Taiowoh, while warning the Federal Government against entering into dialogue with the team raised by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND.
The group, which counseled the Federal Government to stick to the template put forward by Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, also alleged that MEND is being controlled by the Okah brothers from their prison cells in Kuje and South Africa.
Describing MEND as defunct and a scam to secure the release of Henry and Charles, NDW insisted that releasing the Okahs would further deepen the crisis in the area.
The statement reads in part: “We want to use this medium to send a strong warning to the federal government to be wary of those using the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to seek political relevance and to free incarcerated Henry and Charles Okah who are dishing out commands from their prisons.
“Their proposal would cause more crisis in the Niger Delta if the government fails to heed our persistent warning. The MEND that is issuing statements is just a scam. It is a diversionary and a divide and rule vehicle deployed by some jobbers. You will follow them at your own peril.
“We would rather advise the federal government, if it really wants genuine peace, to leverage on what Clark and the Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, started in Warri, Delta State, and start the dialogue that would involve all ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region.
“Our demands have been made bare overtime and we don’t want to repeat ourselves. We believe once the government shows sincerity and kick-starts these plans, we would do everything possible to give them the peace they want, to continue the oil exploration, which is the sole interest of the federal government in the region.
“We are still observing the ceasefire as a mark of respect for our elders, leaders and various stakeholders who have pleaded with us because we want development to come to our impoverished people.
“We want our people to enjoy electricity, pipe borne water and healthcare like Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, and other IOCs are enjoying while exploring oil in our communities.
“However, while we are observing this momentary peace, MEND, which is playing the role of spoiler, should not dare us, otherwise the October 1, 2011, experience would be their portion during their slated tour.
“If Henry and Charles Okah want amnesty which they rejected because they want to continue with their gun running business, they should do that quietly without rubbing it on our face. MEND should not push us into facing them.”
It would be recalled that MEND had announced breakthrough in its purported preliminary talks with the government through oil companies and security agencies.
The breakthroughs, according to MEND, include the release of Henry and Charles Okah, the conditional release of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu among others.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews…
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