Friday, 23 May 2014

News Release: MEND Replies Presidential Aide, Ijaw Leader

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) faults Mr Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs in his recent televised interview in the “60mins with Angela” show, on the Boko Haram abduction of over 200 school girls and the Niger Delta agitation.

On Boko Haram abduction:
Mr Kuku started by coming in defence of the wife of the President, Patience Jonathan, whose utterances and actions prompted a global ridicule and also made a joke of the Nigerian government. He stated that she “empathised with the mothers of the abducted school girls, as a mother, a leader, and a Nigerian. We all know that her action was only a desperate act to gather sympathy due to the fact that the global awareness, which the abduction had created, exposed the ineptitude of her husband and which also threatens his chances of getting re-elected in 2015.

If she was so “empathetic”, why did it take three weeks for her to speak out on the abduction upon realising it had created a global outrage and condemnation?

Regarding the security in Borno State, Kingsley Kuku stated that the state Governor is the Chief Security Officer of the State and hence should be held accountable for the abducted school girls. Mr Kuku fails to realise that President Jonathan assumed the role of Chief Security Officer of Borno State upon declaring a State of Emergency and hence should not point fingers at the governor upon his failure to protect the vulnerable people of Borno State.

Mr Kuku further contradicted himself by saying there were “mysteries” surrounding the abduction of the Chibok school girls and later displays a placard asking Boko Haram to release our girls. Which girls is he now referring to?

On dialogue with Boko Haram, Kingsley Kuku stated that the government “initiated a committee that visited jailed Boko Haram members in Kuje Prison, Abuja ”, and have “set the pace for dialogue and peace with Boko Haram”. Unfortunately, Boko Haram does not believe in this government and have seen the insincerity and failure of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, a sure reason why they are sceptical to come forward for negotiations.

Rather than accepting responsibilities for their failures, the government is busy playing the propaganda and politicking games, which is very unfortunate.

On the Niger Delta Agitation:
On the issue of the Niger Delta agitation, Mr Kuku stated that “President Goodluck Jonathan initiated dialogue and peace options” with the Late President Yar’Adua, “begged him” and also “went to Camp 5”. This is an outright and frivolous lie!

There were never any negotiations or dialogue initiated by President Jonathan of any kind to address the issues that gave birth to militancy in the Niger Delta.

The late President Yar’Adua was the architect of the Amnesty Programme who intended this process to be a precursor to formal dialogue in that achieving a just and lasting solution to the unrest in the Niger Delta by addressing the root issues that gave birth to the agitation. Following this, the ‘Aaron Team’ was selected and mandated by MEND to dialogue on its behalf with the government of the late President Musa Yar’Adua on issues that led to our insurgency before any Amnesty could be considered. But they were never given that opportunity after President Goodluck Jonathan became President following the death of President Yar’Adua.

President Jonathan on the other hand, who is obviously unwitting as to how the Niger Delta issue can be permanently resolved, hijacked the Amnesty process with his cronies for his selfish political gains by using a Divide and Rule tactic where he offered bribes by way of pipeline protection contracts and political appointments to those susceptible to such compromise. His government, with the connivance with South Africa , jailed Henry Okah and others who insisted on integrity and addressing the root issues.

With regards to Mr Kuku’s comments about Tompolo’s leadership and demands on behalf of the groups in the Niger Delta, MEND wishes to clarify that Tompolo was never in any position to speak on behalf of any of the groups. Kingsley Kuku also gave a false impression that the Niger Delta struggle was about Asari Dokubo and “then came Tompolo”. This is, of course, complete and arrant nonsense. And not only is it nonsense. It is a morally abhorrent exercise in nonsense which owes everything to extreme ignorance. Who is Tompolo? He was only a ‘Commander’ of our Camp 5 whose command was relieved upon his decision to accept the Niger Delta Amnesty. The lifestyles of these individuals today are of the contrary when they claim to be “freedom fighters, fighting for the oppressed people of the Niger Delta”.

According to Mr Kingsley Kuku on the issue of poverty in Northern Nigeria , he revealed that “there is also poverty in the Niger Delta region” and cited the Gele Gele Community in Edo State , as an example. This begs the question: With the Billions of Naira channelled to the Amnesty Programme, the Ministry of the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the thirteen (13) percent derivation from the oil revenue, why is there still poverty and underdevelopment in the Niger Delta region?

With all the kidnappings, attacks and vandalising of pipelines in the Niger Delta and bombings in the North of Nigeria, Mr Kingsley Kuku, in his delusional state, said, “ Nigeria is at peace today”. What planet is this man living in?

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) strongly advises Mr Kingsley Kuku to desist from paying for televised shows where critical questions will never be asked, to use as a whitewash when Nigerians and the world are much wiser than such shenanigans.

Update on our recent Port Harcourt Refinery Jetty Attack:
It has come to our attention that a statement credited to a Mr Eric Omare, the publicity Secretary of a tribal assembly known as the Ijaw Youth Council, that a “three-man committee was setup to investigate” our recently claimed attack on the NNPC Jetty in Okrika, Rivers State, and concluded that the “explosion was triggered by an open boat engine used by suspected oil thieves”.

We not only find this statement laughable but also see the level of sycophancy in a group of visionless ‘Niger Delta Plebeians’ paid to discredit our claim. This are the same group of people that threatened to attack pipelines in the Niger Delta region should the region not get a Fifty (50) percent increase in oil derivatives.

We are fully aware that these antics are only a means to justify the renewal of pipeline protection contracts they are currently being bribed with.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has failed to date in publishing the findings of its investigation on our Warri Refinery attack after almost a year but ‘miraculously’, a tribal assembly like the Ijaw Youth Council, with a “three-man committee”, can conclude their “investigations” in three (3) working days. What a joke!

Rather than speaking out against misplaced priorities by this government, corruption, impunity, despotism and absence of the Rule of Law, these politicised bodies prefer to become government sycophants begging for political appointments, contracts or cash rewards in State and Federal corridors of power.

Jomo Gbomo