… FG SHOULD MEET WITH EX-MILITANT LEADERS NOW - AGARY
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Presidential Amnesty Office and the Ministry of Petroleum have been urged to urgently call a meeting of all ex-militant leaders in view of the latest threat by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to commence bomb blasts and attacks on oil installations simultaneously on a date yet to me mentioned.
The Media Coordinator, Presidential Panel on Amnesty and Disarmament for Militants in the Niger Delta, Dr. Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, while appealing to MEND to refrain from further violence and give peace a chance, told Daily Sun that the meeting would provide avenue to address issues and concerns of the region.
According to her, 'I wish to appeal to MEND to give peace a chance by refraining from further threat of violence. Threat of bombing is very unhelpful at this time and I wish to say that no one is immune to bombs. It could consume even relatives of MEND. It is also very unhelpful at this time to be asking for the evacuation of oil workers from the region. There are Niger Deltans and other Nigerians earning honest living in the region and these threats affect all of us.
'Please let us talk about your concerns. I am sure government is willing to do so. But you must embrace peaceful means of resolving disputes. I believe the agencies of government charged with the responsibility for the Niger Delta: NDDC, Presidential Amnesty Office and the Ministry of Petroleum need to urgently call a meeting of all ex-militant leaders, not some but all big and small to a meeting to which elders and youth leaders are invited to discuss openly and honestly the issues being raised by MEND.
'There is no doubt that there are issues and concerns that need to be addressed. It will take dialogue, sincerity and determination to deal with the Niger Delta question. The ongoing palliative measures have not sufficiently addressed all the issues and I think it is time to return to the Niger Delta Technical Committee report. The ongoing strategy of exclusion of many and the patronage of a few will not help the situation. There is no running away from that,' Agary pleaded.
MEND had in a statement issued Monday and signed by Jomo Gbomo, threatened that it will soon commence with simultaneous bomb blasts and attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta and other strategic locations in Abuja and Lagos states of Nigeria.
'Due to our commitment to avert avoidable loss of lives, advance warnings for immediate evacuation as previously will be issued and a final warning thirty (30) minutes prior to the blasts, after which will follow a statement of claim in line with our modus operandi'.
The statement advised the general public in the strongest of terms, to stay clear from all political gatherings or meetings of any sort to avert the fatality that greeted the independence day blast.
'Again, anyone who chooses to ignore this warning does so at their own peril as the aftermath of these blasts will be catastrophic. The government of Goodluck Jonathan has shown its unwillingness to address the key issues of the Niger Delta but chosen instead, to continue doling out bribes to thugs and plunder the resources of the Niger Delta into his presidential campaign while deceiving the world and Nigerians that there is peace in the Niger Delta.
'Our revolution like our fellow brothers in Northern Africa will start with the crippling of the Nigerian oil industry to flush out all Western oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region and the simultaneous bomb blasts never anticipated in the history of this country.
'The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta salutes the courage and dedication of its fighters who have against all odds persisted in the fight for justice', the statement read.