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NORTH SPONSORING MEND - EX-MILITANTS

By NBF News
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Some former militants yesterday in Abuja accused members of northern political elite and the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) of playing politics with the name of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to intimidate President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sobomabo Jackrick, also known as General Egberipapa who spoke on behalf of others after their meeting in Abuja, alleged that their investigations since the threat revealed that some northern elite bent on acquiring power at all cost were engaging in activities aimed at destabilising the present administration.

It, however, alleged that some northern politicians were behind the bombing campaigns rocking the country allegedly being carried out by MEND.

The group comprising Government Okpehu, aka Tompolo, Boyloaf, General Egberipapa, among others, said MEND had ceased to exist the moment they embraced the amnesty programme of the Federal Government under the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, stating that any other MEND was a decoy by alleged northern politicians designed to divert attention from the real culprits.

In view of the above, the group warned that any attempt to destabilise the government of President Jonathan would be strongly resisted as northern politicians who still think that sabotaging Jonathan's government would give them access to Niger Delta oil would be in for a surprise as that would not be allowed to happen.

'Northern leaders like Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida are using this so-called MEND to destabilise President Jonathan's administration and we are watching them. If they think they can destabilise Jonathan's government, they should be in for a shocker as we are prepared to ensure that oil from the Niger Delta will not be accessible to them anymore.

'The reason we went to the creeks is to fight a cause, the criminal marginalistion of the Niger Delta region and these issues are being addressed especially with the appointment of Mr. Kingsley Kuku as the special adviser to the president on Niger Delta affairs. We are satisfied with that and he has started on a good note. Everybody is getting his allowance and some have been taken for training in Ghana and South Africa while development projects are ongoing.

'President Goodluck Jonathan, though from the Niger Delta region, should be seen as president of the entire country and should be given the support that our region gave past northern leaders for more than 30 years. Why should his administration be threatened everyday by a non-existent organisation. We are the MEND and it is no longer in existence. This leadership is for Nigerians not Niger Deltans,' the group said.

The ex-militants, however, added a twist to its position by asking Federal Government to also investigate former MEND commanders to ensure that they are not colluding in any way with the 'sponsored MEND.'

The group said most of the ex-militants were doing well individually before identifying the criminal marginalisation of the area and decided to go into the creeks to fight. With the amnesty programme in place, advent of President Jonathan, creation of the Niger Delta Ministry, it said, there was nothing else to fight for.