MEND, FG Deal: Dialogue Without Ijaw Leaders'll Fail-Clark
Any dialogue between Government and Militants in the Niger Delta region
without the involvement of Ijaw leaders is doomed, foremost Ijaw leader
and First Republic Information Minister, Edwin Clark, has said.
The position followed the deal between the Federal Government and the
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), to release
leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and MEND
operative, Charles Okah, held over his involvement in the October 1
bombing of the Eagle Square in Abuja.
Clark took the position at a consultative meeting of Ijaw leaders with
Bayelsa Governor Seriake Dickson and Deputy Governor of Delta State,
Kingsley Otuaro, in Warri.
“In 2008 and 2009 similar incident happened and Gbaramatu was affected. We
elders and leaders intervened and we got Amnesty. Today we hear that the
Federal Government is planning, already talking or negotiating with
militants and nobody has consulted us.
“That will not work. These children are our children and we cannot fold
our hands when they are being attacked and pretend not to notice. We must
be involved in whatever the government wants to do,” he said.
A communique issued at the meeting called for immediate restructuring of
the country along the lines of peaceful federalism.
“As panacea for the sustainable development of Nigeria. As a demonstration
of sincerity of commitment to dialogue, Federal Government should
immediately withdraw the military from all occupied Ijaw communities,
particularly Gbaramatu kingdom”, and called on government to release 10
innocent students of Gbaramatu kingdom.
The meeting also called on the Federal Government to immediately release
the 10 innocent students of Gbaramatu kingdom arrested by the security
“The meeting also condemn the move to scrap the Nigerian Maritime University
approved by the previous administration with temporary site at Kurutie and
call for the immediate takeoff of the university. The forum also urged the
militant groups of the Niger Delta to cease further attacks on crude oil
and gas facilities and embrace the dialogue offered by the Federal
Government”, the group said .
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