Niger Delta: Clark, Dickson, insist dialogue must be with Ijaw leaders
• MEND Endorse “Operation Crocodile Tears”
• Avengers Say MEND Is Dead
As tension builds in the Niger Delta region following the military’s launch of a special training tagged ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’ to train special force units on possible amphibious warfare with militants, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it has endorsed the operation after assurances from the military authorities that it would be peaceful.
However, the Niger Delta Avengers, which tagged the MEND a dead organisation that was resurrected for political vendetta by agents of the ruling government, warned that the Federal Government was planning to deploy troops and drones to the Niger Delta region.
In a statement yesterday, signed by its spokesman Jomo Gomorrah, MEND agreed that the Special Forces of the Nigerian Army should commence the purely routine, but strategic military exercise while MEND would commence a meet-up Government-Actors-and-People tour of the Niger Delta region code-named ‘Operation Moses’.
MEND also disclosed that the team dialoguing with the Federal Government to end unrest in the Niger Delta had agreed to set free several detained or imprisoned militants, including Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra and other Biafra activists Henry Okah, a MEND leader serving jail term in South Africa, Charles Okah, and Obi Nwabueze amongst others.
Speaking during a courtesy call on Governor Seriake Dickson, the Minister of Defence said he was in the state to seek the support of the government and communities in putting an end to the continued attacks on key oil installations.
Chief Edwin Clark, Dickson and Delta State deputy governor, Kingsley Otuaro have said any fruitful dialogue between the Federal Government and militants without involvement of Ijaw leaders was unacceptable.
They made their position known during a meeting of Ijaw Leaders Consultative Council with Governor Seriake Dickson in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Clark said: “This is not the first time this kind of crisis is happening. In 2008 and 2009 similar incident happened and Gbaramatu was affected. We elders and leaders intervened and we got Amnesty.
“Today we hear that Federal Government is planning, already talking or negotiating with militants and nobody has consulted us. That will not work. These children are our children and we cannot fold our hands when they are being attacked and pretend not to notice. We must be involved in what government wants to do”