The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has distanced itself from the meeting of former leaders and ex-commanders of the militant organisation called by one of its founding members, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo.
Tompolo in the notice of meeting personally signed by him had called for the meeting Friday at Izon House, Yenagoa in what is seen as moves to resuscitate their faction of MEND which left when they embraced the Federal Government Amnesty programme under late President Umaru Yar Adua.
However MEND in a statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo said the group dissociates itself from the meeting.
According to him the meeting is an assembly of dubious contractors who are reacting because of the moves by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to probe the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan over allegations of corruption.
Gbomo while reaffirming the support of MEND for the Buhari administration in its decision to probe the Jonathan government added that the probe should include the former First Lady and the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme.
The statement reads in part “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) dissociates itself from the purported meeting of “MEND/Ex-MEND Leaders” scheduled to hold on July 25, 2015 , in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State .
“MEND wishes to state categorically that the proposed meeting is merely an assembly of dubious contractors and disgruntled elements, reacting on behalf of oil thieves and corrupt officials of the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) reaffirms our support for President Buhari and his government’s courage to probe the immediate past Goodluck Jonathan administration, which should also include the office of the Ex-President, the former First Lady and the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme.
“MEND wishes to reiterate our commitment to the Niger Delta struggle which has no relationship with seeking Political appointments, Power or Contracts”
Checks indicated that Gbomo and other members loyal to Henry Okah have vowed to resist Tompolo and the former commanders from using MEND as a bargaining tool with the Buhari administration.”
According to sources, MEND members loyal to Okah had advocated that the organisation should negotiate for a proper development plan for the Niger Delta region under Jonathan Presidency but its former commanders led by Tompolo prefer award of contracts and nominating people for appointments.
Meanwhile Investigations have revealed that the meeting is expected to be stormy as Tompolo and others are expected to bare their minds on the steps taken so far by the Buhari’ administration which they believed are inimical to the continued stability of the region.
A very reliable source close to the ex-militant leaders said there is apprehension that the Niger Delta region is being targeted by the Buhari’s administration.
“Tompolo and the ex-commanders are meeting in Yenagoa. They are not afraid of the Buhari’s government because they are serious issues on ground. The government revoked the surveillance contract; sacked the DG of NIMASA and have refused to pay the allowances of beneficiaries of the amnesty programme. So many people are suffering because of the inaction of the government. The government can go ahead with its probe but government should not grind to a halt. There is tension in the Niger Delta and it is only Buhari that can move to stop it” -The Sun