MEND THREATENS TO LEVEL OIL INDUSTRY
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has threatened to destroy the oil industry in protest against the appointment of Mr. Kingsley Kuku as Special Adviser, Niger Delta Affairs, by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The group in a statement yesterday did not, however, give any reasons for its opposition to Kuku's appointment.
Kuku, who was named presidential adviser on Wednesday along with three others, replaced Mr. Timi Alaibe, who resigned his appointment to pursue his governorship ambition on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) in Jonathan's home state - Bayelsa.
Kuku, 40, an Ijaw from Ondo State, was a member of the Ondo State House of Assembly and until his appointment was a member of the Federal Government's Amnesty Committee.
MEND warned that its threat should not be taken lightly and urged oil workers not to be deceived by safety assurances from the government as it has demonstrated several its capability to strike anywhere at any time.
According to MEND, it will attack land-based offices of oil companies, oil rigs and storage facilities.
However, the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Niger Delta has expressed surprise at MEND's new threat.
Its spokesman, Col. Timothy Antigha, in a telephone interview with Sunday Sun, said the agency did not expect MEND to carry out its threat since its members have access to the President and could have taken their grievances to him.
His words: 'I don't think that is the way to go. I know they are now mature and won't go the way of violence again. They won't follow the old order of recklessness and irresponsibility.'
The statement reads: 'The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) views with scum the appointment of a new presidential adviser on the Niger Delta.
'The continuous deception of the Nigerian government and international communities of a promise of peace without justice in the Niger Delta is simply a ploy by Goodluck Jonathan to secure the Presidency of Nigeria and continue the plundering of the Niger Delta.
'As we have persistently promised, we will shortly embark on an all-out assault on the Nigerian oil industry, bringing upon this industry such mayhem unprecedented in the history of our quest for justice.
'In this new chapter, nothing will be spared, from land-based offices to oil platforms and storage facilities. We will bring all these to ground level.
'Due to the severity of this onslaught against the oil industry and our desire to prevent loss of lives, the opening attack as promised will be preceded by a warning with guidelines to all oil workers concerning their conduct in the event of an attack.
'We warn the oil industry to disregard all attempts by the Nigerian government to mislead it as our previous attacks in the past have proved that the Nigerian government cannot protect them. The fight for the liberation of the Niger Delta has only begun and will not cease until we have reclaimed every inch of land stolen by the western oil companies in collaboration with puppets such as Goodluck Jonathan and other dubious so-called elders of the Niger Delta.'