- MEND and federal government reached an agreement to end the attacks in the Niger Delta region
- The group claimed that according to the deal the government may free Nnamdi Kanu, others if they renounce Biafra
- Accusations against Tompolo will also be discharged if he cooperates
- Niger Delta Avengers gets last chance to stop bombing or face the awwful consequences
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has claimed that as a part of negotiation deal on Niger Delta crisis the government of Muhammadu Buhari agreed to release the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
Vanguard reports that according to the agreement, other imprisoned militants to be freed are Henry Okah, a MEND chieftain serving a jail sentence in South Africa, Charles Okah, and Obi Nwabueze.
The statement revealed that Kanu and other detained IPOB activists would be discharged on condition that they renounce their agitation for secession.
Former senator Adolphus Wabara had reportedly introduced the compromise to secure the release of the pro-Biafran activists.
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MEND also noted that the government’s treaters had agreed not to arrest or harass fugitive Niger Delta war lord Government Ekpemupolo (popularly known as Tompolo), “whenever he makes himself available as a delegate of the MEND Aaron Team 2.”
The movement also demanded the government to review the life sentence bounded on Edmund Ebiware.
The group further announced itself the only militant group from the region currently involved in a dialogue with the incumbent administration continuing that oil companies and security agencies were representing the government in negotiations aimed at brokering peace in the region which has witnessed increasing attacks on oil facilities since President Buhari's inauguration last year.
MEND noted that the deal called for a review of “criminal charges against Urhobo freedom fighter, Mr. Kelvin Prosper Oniarah,” and the review of life sentences handed to seven soldiers in 2008 for supporting the Niger Delta battle. The soldiers include Major Suleiman Alabi Akubo, Sergeant Mathias Peter, Lance Corporal Alexander Davou, Lance Corporal Moses Nwaigwe, Lance Corporal Nnandi Anene, Lance Corporal Taatihi Emmanuel, and Private Caleb Bawa.
Should the Niger Delta Avengers refuse to stop attacks on oil and gas facilities MEND seemed to back military reprisals against them.
The statement reads: “One of the most immediate and urgent fall-outs of the ongoing dialogue is the imperative for the federal government and MEND to jointly and separately take proactive steps to rescue and secure the region in the event that the recalcitrant Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) continue on their senseless and politically-motivated path of attacks on the country's oil assets.
“To this end, both parties agreed that the special forces of the Nigerian army should commence the purely routine but strategic military exercise code-named ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’; while MEND would commence a meet-the Government-Actors-and-People tour of the Niger Delta region code-named ‘Operation Moses.
“While ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’ is aimed at ensuring the combat readiness of the Nigerian Army in Amphibious and Internal Security Operations in the Niger Delta as well as check criminal activities like kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, piracy and other forms of criminal activities spearheaded by the NDA in the region, MEND's ‘Operation Moses’ is essentially to inform, educate and generally sensitize the citizenry in the Niger Delta, particularly the Government, the youth, oil companies, elders and militant community on the need to ceasefire and support the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration in its determined bid to proffer sustainable solutions to the current Niger Delta crisis.”
“Meanwhile, MEND's ‘Operation Moses’ shall be anchored by the AARON TEAM 2 Dialogue, Peace & Development Initiative jointly led by Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (SAN) and HRH King Alfred Papapreye Diette-Spiff, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass in Bayelsa state.
“’Operation Moses’ shall commence with a visit by the distinguished members of the AARON TEAM 2 to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja between August 22, 2016 and August 26, 2016.
“Thereafter, the Team shall hold sessions with top executives of major indigenous and international oil & gas companies operating in Nigeria, including the state oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on August 29 and 30, 2016 in Abuja. The focus of those sessions shall include, to wit: Local content development; Petroleum Industry Bill; Corporate Social Responsibility/Host community relations, etc.
“On September 5 and 6, 2016 in Abuja the MEND Aaron Team shall hold sessions with the top echelon of security agencies in Nigeria as well as the top management of the intervention agencies in the Niger Delta, namely: Ministry of Niger Delta; Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Presidential Amnesty Office. The Minister of Justice/Attorney General of the Federation is expected to personally attend these sessions. The focus of the sessions shall include: Extension of presidential amnesty to certain categories of political prisoners in Nigeria; Fundamental Human Rights; NDDC Act in focus; Presidential Amnesty Proclamation 2009 in focus; collapse of federal infrastructure in the Niger Delta in focus; Calabar-Lagos rail line in focus; East/West Road in focus, etc.
“After these critical sessions, "Operation Moses" shall move to tour the 9 states in the Niger Delta region, commencing with Rivers state between September 12, 2016 and September 14, 2016. Between September 15, 2016 and September 18, 2016 the Aaron Team shall be in Bayelsa state. Between September19, 2016 and September 21, 2016 the Team shall be in Delta state. From Thursday September 22, 2016 to Sunday September 25, 2016 the Aaron Team shall be in Akwa Ibom state. Between September 26, 2016 and September 29, 2016 the Team shall be in Abia and Imo states. And finally, between October 3, 2016 and October 7, 2016 the Aaron Team shall be in Edo and Ondo states.
“The central clearing house for all activities connected with "Operation Moses" shall be the MEND Aaron Team 2 secretariat. Accordingly, the Secretary of the Team, Timipa Jenkins Okponipere, Esq., shall duly communicate with all concerned persons and institutions.
READ ALSO: Militants surrender to military firepower
“Ultimately, peace and development in the Niger Delta region is the final destination of the ongoing dialogue between MEND and the federal government.”
Under the conditions of the last peace agreement with the Nigerian authorities in 2009 about 15,000 militants from the MEND, who have been involved in clashes with Nigerian military and police in the Delta region, have surrendered.