The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) says Edwin Clark, prominent Niger Delta leader, is unfit to lead dialogue between the federal government and the region’s agitators.
MEND was responding to Saturday’s declaration by Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), another militant group, that it would welcome dialogue with the government only if it is channelled through Clark.
“We are going to support any collective/negotiation team emerging from the Chief (Dr.) Papa Edwin Kiagbodo Clark Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders conference to engage with the federal government of Nigeria, representatives from the home countries of all multinational Oil Corporations and neutral international mediators that will be focused on achieving the short, medium and long term frameworks and objectives to de-escalating conflicts in the Niger Delta,” NDA had said.
It added: “We have resolved to reject any idea of the peace of our times; we want the peace with honor this time around! Our advice to our Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders is that, whenever this inhuman project called Nigeria and her government is ready for dialogue/negotiations with them, this mandate should be treated with that care as driving a vehicle like that of a truck laden with fire.”
Responding in a statement released on Sunday by Jomo Gbomo, its spokesman, MEND urged the federal government to ignore Clark and NDA altogether, recalling that “throughout the six years that his ‘son’ former President Goodluck Jonathan was in power, the elder statesman kept mute and actively participated in the economic dismemberment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
MEND’s FULL STATEMENT
The attention of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been drawn to a meeting of the Niger Delta Coastal States held in Warri, Delta State on Friday, August 19, 2016. The meeting was jointly convened by elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
MEND hereby advises the Federal Government to ignore the Communique which was released at the end of the meeting for the following reasons: The Communique failed to categorically condemn the criminal and treasonable activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
This was principally because, notable promoter of the meeting, Chief Edwin Clark was recently named by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) as a major supporter of the NDA.
Chief Edwin Clark lacks the moral authority to lead a discussion on the so-called “re-structuring” of the Nigerian Federation, at this critical point in the country’s history; given the fact that, throughout the 6 years his “son” former President Goodluck Jonathan was in power, the elder statesman kept mute and actively participated in the economic dismemberment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In fact, Chief Clark’s Abuja residence was an extension of the State House.
None of the persons who attended the Stakeholders meeting convened by Chief Clark and Governor Okowa have the capacity to persuade the people of the Niger Delta region to support the current efforts of the Buhari Administration to bring peace and development to the region.
Consequently, MEND reiterates its full support for the ongoing military presence in the Niger Delta region, even as we prepare to tour the region to drum support for the current Administration in an exercise code-named “OPERATION MOSES”.
MEND shall continue to insist that, so long as these elders and stakeholders do not categorically and publicly denounce the NDA, the Federal Government should also continue to ignore them.”