Tuesday, 29 January 2008

MEND: ONE BODY, THREE HEADS

The Movement for the emancipation of Niger Delta(MEND),an umbrella body of militants in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, formed for the purpose of collective actualization of the Niger Delta struggle is now seriously factionalised.

Our reporter who infiltrated MEND reports that there are three key factions within MEND now, these factions revolve arround key personalities in the struggle, namely: Henry Okah(a.k.a Jomo Gbomo),who is currently being held in Angola on allegation of gun-runing,Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and one unknown(to the public)fellow based in the creeks, who uses the pseudonym "General Government".

While the Dokubo-Asari faction favours peace meetings with the Federal Government of Nigeria in line with the wishes of Ijaw leaders,the Henry Okah faction wants their mentor released unconditionally before any peace meetings.The "General Government" faction, made up mainly of petty illegal crude oil bunkerers and sea pirates hiding under militancy to carry out their activities want the status quo to remain for obvious reasons.The Dokubo-Asari faction considers the demand of the Okah faction unrealistic in view of the fact that Okah is not in the custody of the Nigerian Government.Our reporter however believes that the main reason for opposing this condition is the personal animosity between Okah and Dokubo-Asari.Mr. Dokubo-Asari has been casting aspersions on the person of Mr. Okah in press interviews since Okah was arrested and detained.

MEND,a network of militant groups in the Niger Delta region was formed by Mr.Henry Okah and other militant leaders when Mr. Muajahid Dokubo-Asari was arrested and detained by the Federal Government of Nigeria on allegation of treason.Dokubo-Asari's arrest and detention slowed down militant activities, necesitating the formation of MEND,to co-ordinate activities. Mr.Henry Okah, a South-African based Nigerian businessman was appointed the spokesman.Okah was the first to use the pseudonym "Jomo Gbomo".

MEND first demanded for the release of Dokubo-Asari and D.S.P Alamesigha, a former Governor of Bayelsa State who was serving a jail term.When these conditions were not met, MEND responded with well co-ordinated attacks on oil and gas facilities and kidnaps in the Niger Delta region.Dokubo-Asari and Alamesigha were eventaully released, albeit conditionally.

Our reporter is however, of the opinion that this factionalization is as a result of divide and rule tactics introduced into this body of Militants by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Governments of the states in Niger Delta through some Ijaw leaders.

An enquiry sent to MEND Spokesman by e-mail has not been answered at the time of posting this report.