More trouble as militant groups write Kachikwu, threaten violence over dialogue

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The end may not be in sight over the latest
rounds of militancy in the oil rich Niger Delta, as
the camp of militant groups in the region are
split over Federal Government’s muted dialogue
with stakeholders in the region.
This came to light as three militant groups,
Reformed Egbesu Boys, Egbesu Water Lions and
Egbesu Mythier Fraternity, Saturday, insisted
that neither the Avengers nor the Movement for
the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND,
which raised a negotiation team, tagged Aaron
Team 2, has their mandate to represent them in
any dialogue with government.
The General Officer Commanding, GOC,
Intelligence, Tony Alagbakeriowei, and GOC,
Logistics and Admin, General Ebi Abakoromor, in
a statement on behalf of the three militant
groups, condemned the NDA and MEND, adding
that the preliminary discussions so far by
government officials was tilted towards Avengers
and a particular former militant leader.
The groups vowed to cause mayhem if they
were ignored.
The statement, addressed to the Minister of
Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, read:
“We write on behalf of the Reformed Egbesu Boys
of the Niger Delta, Egbesu Water Lions and
Egbesu Mythier Fraternity to bring to the urgent
attention of the Federal Government that the
negotiation with the Avengers is lopsided.
“It will be recalled that various militant groups
make up the Niger Delta Avengers and we were
taken aback that the Federal Government team
is negotiating with Gbaramatu kingdom
representatives only.
“Be reminded that this current crisis is not a
particular ex-militant leader affair and, therefore,
Gbaramatu representatives cannot negotiate with
the Federal Government to the exclusion of other
active participants in the crisis.
“Consequently, we warn that the negotiation
team be expanded to include various active
group reps that participated in this current crisis.
Failure to heed this wise counsel, aggrieved
stakeholders will resort to doing what we know
best.
“When the need for the cessation of hostilities
arose as a result of pleas arising from national
and international sources, the Reformed Egbesu
Boys of the Niger Delta were the first to
unilaterally declare ceasefire.”
They groups also said it was concerned that the
Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, was in
favour of some militant leaders to the exclusion
of other participants.
“This is the scenario now unfolding, we object to
this with all our might.”
On MEND’s Aaron Team 2, the three Egbesu
militants groups insisted that MEND exists only
on the pages of newspaper and hotels rooms in
Abuja and, therefore, could not speak for militant
groups in the region.
“We condemn in strong terms the emerging trend
where those in MEND, who took to kidnapping
and hostage-taking to criminalise the legitimate
agitation and had since been disbanded and
accepted the poorly coordinated Amnesty
Programme, are now seeking relevance and
purporting to have raised a negotiation team to
dialogue with the federal government.
“This is most ridiculous, embarrassing and
nonsensical to say the least. MEND exists only
on newspaper pages and hotel rooms in Abuja.
We are taken aback that those who collectively
destroyed the struggle want to recruit very
respected elders for sinister motives.
“If the Federal Government negotiates with the
purported MEND team as published, the
consequences would be fatal and devastating to
the multinationals as usual. We ceased hostilities
in the larger collective interest of the Niger Delta
environment, security of the people of the Niger
Delta and the economic stability of the Nigerian
state and the world at large.
“We wish to warn that the Ijaw nation is and
shall not be taken as cannon fodder to the other
ethnic nationalities as we are seen to be. We are
branded criminals and all sorts of name-calling,
but when the Federal Government calls for
dialogue, our traditional antagonists and agent
provocateurs would be the first to present them
for dialogue.”

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