FG's Amnesty: MEND Declares Ceasefire, Gives Fresh Condition For Lasting Peace
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, May 30, (THEWILL) â€' The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has declared a ceasefire in less than 48 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan waved an olive branch to insurgent groups in the country in his Democracy Day broadcast on Thursday.
MEND said it declared the ceasefire following the President's assertion that its doors were open for dialogue and reconciliation with insurgents groups if they renounce terrorism and embrace peace.
The group however said the ceasefire would be on some conditions which it expects the Presidency to meet within the next few days.
According to a statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, the group said;
Mr President, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has received your Democracy Day speech on Thursday, May 29, 2014 with cautious optimism.
Our attention was drawn to your olive branch where you said 'Our doors remain open to them, (aggrieved armed groups) for dialogue and reconciliation if they renounce terrorism (armed struggle) and embrace peace.'
As Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the Unites States said: 'Wars are, of course, as a rule to be avoided; but they are far better than certain kinds of peace.'
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been disappointed in the past with Governments insincerity
Instead of addressing our concerns and dialogue on the root issues that led us to take up arms, your government, based on bad advisers, arrogantly jettisoned dialogue with our negotiation delegates, the Aaron Team in 2009, arrested and incarcerated perceived critiques.
Since that slight, your government has known no peace from our region in spite of billions poured into propaganda and security.
This slight was also responsible for the Independence Day attack of October 01, 2010, carried out to counter the impression that MEND has ceased to exist just because a few greedy, short sighted and misguided elements within and outside our ranks chose to betray their people.
Unfortunately, avoidable lives which we regret were lost on that day due to the security agencies' refusal to act on our advanced warning ahead of the attack.
Although it is a natural instinct to support ones own, our struggle has never been about a Niger Delta President or 2015.
We are looking at 2060, when our oil wells may have run dry and the future consequences to that generation yet unborn.
'We hold you to your words, as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) declares a ceasefire effective 0700Hrs, Friday 30 May, 2014 by calling off our 'Hurricane Exodus' campaign and other acts of sabotage; especially our incessant attacks on gas and oil pipelines, erroneously or mischievously attributed to oil thieves.'
The group however gave some conditions for a lasting ceasefire which includes release of its fighters, including Henry and Charles Okah; presidential pardon for those already tried and convicted among others.
The group said: 'We expect from your side, sincerity in dialogue, reconciliation and an act of goodwill when: You suspend court proceedings and drop all charges from those awaiting trial; A presidential pardon is given to those already tried and convicted
'You order the release MEND fighters still in detention facilities; including the Okah brothers, Henry and Charles, who will feature prominently in the new dialogue team.'
The group however said they would comfortably work with Presidential Adviser, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, who they recently lampooned over his interview concerning the amnesty programme.
'Initial discussions will be facilitated through your Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme ( PAP ), Mr Kingsley Kuku, who we will be comfortable to work with.
'Your response to us in the coming days and weeks may discourage or encourage other insurgent groups to follow suit, bringing about the real peace in our country that comes only after justice.'