Tuesday, 7 June 2016

News Release: UNEP Report And Military Onslaught

Over a period of six (6) decades since the discovery of oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State in 1958, successive civilian and military administrations in Nigeria have short-changed the Niger Delta region and pillaged the commonwealth generated from the region in association with International Oil Companies who have not done enough to protect and sustain the environment.

It is in the light of this premise; but particularly because of the colossal failure of former President Goodluck Jonathan - an indigene of the region who was at the helm for six (6) years - to address the remediation of our environment; that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), for and on behalf of the good people of the region, sincerely and warmly commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his political will and sagacity in tackling the vexed issue of the clean-up of Ogoniland with the June 2, 2016 launch and implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report; one of the cornerstones of our agitation, over the years.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) notes with grave concern the recent renewed spate of unprovoked and persistent attacks on Nigeria's oil installations by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA); many of whom were MEND commanders and fighters who jumped on the Presidential Amnesty gravy train without knowing why they took up arms in the first place. What is more worrisome to us is the ungodly conspiracy of silence of the region's elite and their tacit support of the NDA's conduct under the pretext of a so-called "Niger Delta struggle" which went to sleep in luxury hotel suites in Abuja and around the world for the entire duration of the 6 years of Mr. Jonathan's binge and unmitigated disaster as President.

Nevertheless, equally of grave concern to MEND is the disproportionate use of force and the sheer unimaginable dimension of the ongoing reprisal Nigerian military onslaught in the Niger Delta region and the attendant collateral damage done to the political, social and economic lives of the ordinary people, especially in the Ijaw communities. While we commiserate with the affected persons, families and communities, we seize this opportunity to call on the international community as well as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to dispatch relief materials to the region, as a matter of utmost priority. However, we hereby remind our communities who harbour criminals such as members of the NDA that their communities are not protected by the extant principles of international and/or municipal law during a conflict; even as we urge the Nigerian military high command to stick to the rules of engagement and international best practices.

Jomo Gbomo

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