Mend End Cease Fire

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After a lull of three months, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Saturday ended its unilateral ceasefire, with a threat to unleash unprecedented attacks on oil workers and installations in the Niger

Delta. MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, explained why the organization had to reactivate its hard line posture.

He said that the ceasefire MEND declared on October 25, 2009 was done in the hope that the federal government would consider true dialogue founded on a sincere desire to bring justice to the people of the Niger Delta, and true peace to Nigeria.

He expressed disappointment that this objective had not been achieved. The group, which declined to accept the amnesty offer to Niger Delta militants, accused the government of acting like a victor over a conquered people.

According to Gbomo, the government rolled out a list of its plans for the Delta, which it assumed would end decades of agitation, "promising at the same time to deal with all who remained dissatisfied with its lame effort to redress the injustice in the Niger Delta."

"It is sufficiently clear at this point in time that the government has no intentions of considering the demands made by MEND for the control of the resources and land of the Niger Delta to be reverted to the rightful owners, the people of the Niger Delta," he said.

He accused the government and oil companies of believing that the spirit of agitation in the Niger Delta has been blown away "with the bribing of a few thugs it has labeled stakeholders."

He added: "They assume giving alms to the youth of the Delta will secure installations."

MEND described as preposterous the idea of concessions suggested by the government in its bid to address the injustice in the Niger Delta.

These include ceding10 percent of its stake in the joint venture partnerships to oil producing communities and nine percent to other interested Nigerians.

But MEND queried: "Which is an oil producing community to the government of Nigeria? The Nigerian government in all its wisdom defines an oil producing community as one where oil installations are sited; where oil is drilled or where flow stations and other facilities relevant to the continued bleeding of the Niger Delta and exportation of its mineral resources are found.

"Does this government not realise that all surrounding communities are sitting atop the same oil deposits and would be producers if their communities were drilled as well?

"By this crude definition, the government will consider Kaduna State and other Northern states where pipelines pass through to the refinery in Kaduna, oil producing states."

Gbomo observed that the same government that is "unable to maintain or repair the death traps called roads or the archaic rail facilities in Nigeria," was promising to build super highways and modern rail lines through the Niger Delta "using funds it hopes to realise from divesting 19% of its shares in the joint ventures partnerships."

He warned that all companies related to the oil industry in the Niger Delta should prepare for an all-out onslaught against their installations and personnel, stressing "nothing will be spared."

He continued: "In this phase, we will extend attacks to oil service companies, which have experienced a boom as a result of the misfortunes of oil producing companies, repairing pipelines destroyed in attacks.

"The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta warns all oil companies to halt operations, as any operational installation attacked will be burnt to the ground."

He claimed that the oil companies were responsible for the safety and welfare of their workers and would bear the guilt should any harm come upon their staff in the event of an attack.

The MEND mouthpiece said the government was using the amnesty as a ploy to divide the people of the Niger Delta in order to govern and plunder their resources.

He said this is done in the hope that communities with oil installations, designated oil producing communities and rewarded for having these facilities on their soil, would safeguard such installations.

"Fortunately for the people of the Niger Delta, no one will be able to safeguard any installation from attack by our fighters.

"All who have misled the government and oil companies into such inanity will be put to shame," Gbomo said.( Guardian)

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