The President of the United States of America,
Air force one.
Greetings from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) of Nigeria. We are confident this letter will reach you and your entourage touring some African countries well.
MEND needs little introduction to you since you must have been briefed after the actions we have taken to address the injustice in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria may have affected the oil dependent American economy.
Your trip to Africa comes at an opportune time and indicates the soft spot you have for the people of this great continent. Africa is facing several on going conflicts, almost all are avoidable. Nigeria is at the verge of entering its own mega-conflict even though everyone seems to be in denial. When Nigeria erupts, the lava of destruction will spread so fast, far and wide that the human and economic catastrophe will dwarf Darfur.
Contrary to the misleading impression that MEND is a group of callous terrorists, we are peace loving and God fearing men and women who have decided to take a firm position against those who use our resources to develop their regions to our detriment. Mr President, after 9/11 you took a stand. We are only emulating a leader we admire.
The so-called peace process to resolve the Niger Delta unrest has been fraught with fraud and insincerity. A major player, Mr Henry Okah, a principled and disciplined leader we respect was framed and detained while the government had hoped to divide and deal with some people without principles. From the inception of President Yar ‘Adua’s regime, what we are witnessing is a thread mill peace process that is leading to no where. The Nigerian government does not seem to realise that peace can not be bought with money.
Mr. President, considering your commitment on democracy, peace and stability and considering that MEND is devoted to the war against terrorism, we humbly ask for the mediation of you and of your great country to settle the dispute in the Niger Delta.
The way forward to achieving peace in the oil rich region is the unconditional release of Henry Okah to partake in a new and genuinely transparent reconciliatory peace process. We use this opportunity to lay out a clear and simple 11- point peace proposal that should bring an enduring peace and prosperity, mutually beneficial to both countries; ending five decades of bondage on the Niger Delta region and its people.
The proposal is something along the following lines:
1. Henry Okah is to be held in good condition with unfettered access to his legal representatives, family, pastor and independent international observers including the international Red Cross;
2. In return Henry will assist the new peace process in the Niger Delta;
3. MEND will declare a period of Grace in which it will halt all militia action in the Niger Delta;
4. In return military forces will halt all actions and no further troops will be deployed in the Niger Delta;
5. During the Grace period a demobilization plan will be agreed between militia, the Federal Government of Nigeria and international observers with an emphasis on education, rehabilitation, counselling, training, apprenticeship, employment and small/medium scale business opportunities that will constructively engage the militia;
6. The Federal Government of Nigeria will begin a staged military withdrawal from the Niger Delta;
7. In return MEND will commit itself to a staged disarmament commensurate with the military withdrawal from the Niger Delta;
8. In the interest of public safety, the Federal Government of Nigeria will match military withdrawal with an increase in police wages, training, orientation, equipment and improvements in police living conditions. This will assist in moving Nigeria from a military regime to a true democracy with a civilian government;
9. The Federal Government in conjunction with the State Governments of the Niger Delta region will announce details of a plan to deliver greater transparency in revenues from Federal Government, to State Governments and on to Local Governments, and application of those funds to relieve the suffering of villagers (through improvement in health services, provision of potable water, etc.) and give hope (through stimulating local economies, providing teachers wages, etc). A monitoring group composed of officials nominated by the Government and the civil society, and supervised by the World Bank, as the model experienced in Chad, will be vouched for transparency;
10. The Federal Government will announce increased funds to specific programmes in communities aimed at relieving the suffering of the poor and disadvantaged citizens;
11. Last but not the least; the Federal Government must propose a time table for the practice of true federalism in the control of resources by every state in the federation.
While wishing you a successful trip, we will uphold your efforts for peace and justice around the world in our continued prayers.