FG, MEND dialogue in progress


Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has confirmed it was having talks with the Federal Government. President Muhammadu Buhari had last week revealed that his administration was holding talks with militants in the Niger Delta.

But days later, the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, denied having talks with the government, saying officials must have been meeting with impostors. An online statement yesterday and signed by MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, said it was actually having preliminary talks with the government through oil firms and security agencies.

The statement reads: “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, wishes to confirm that indeed it has been in preliminary talks with the Federal Government through oil companies and law-enforcement agencies as revealed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

“These preliminary talks are the precursor to a wider dialogue between the Federal Government and the MEND Aaron 2 peace initiative which will seek to find solutions to the short, medium and long-term future of the Niger Delta region. “The Federal Government made it clear during our meetings that a negotiation with criminals is out of the question.

“The Niger Delta Avengers, internet-based ‘militant’ groups such as Joint Revolutionary Council, Ultimate Warriors etc., an Ijaw opportunistic tribal assembly who were compromised to keep silent during the six (6) years of Goodluck Jonathan’s misrule and neglect, pirates, pipeline vandals, oil thieves, commercial kidnappers, waterway robbers, political thugs and miscreants all fall under this category.

” Meanwhile, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, has confirmed that pirates ambushed and killed one of its officers in Southern Ijaw Council Area of Bayelsa State. NSCDC Commandant in the state, Mr. Desmond Agu, who confirmed the incident in Yenagoa yesterday, said the command had recovered the remains. He said the operatives were on a surveillance duty at Ogbobiri community and were attacked while returning to Yenagoa. Agu, who described the incident as unfortunate, restated the commitment of his command to protect critical assets of the government against sabotage.

The commandant said that the pirates would not go unpunished, and commended his men for rising to the occasion. According to him, the command was determined and motivated to deal with criminals. A source at the NSCDC command said the officers were deployed to oil-bearing communities in the state following the activities of militants in the area. The source said the incident happened on Friday at about 11.15 p.m., adding that the gunmen also suffered casualties

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