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Niger Delta and MEND’s idiosyncratic idiocy – by Abu Duniya

“MEND assumed the illegal aura of the Nigerian legislature and proceeded to pass a vote of no confidence on the government of President Buhari. Phew!”

An artiste does not die a literal death; his spirit lives in his works. 

Sam Loco, the witty, humorous, infectious Nigerian actor and comedian of great talents, once declared, “New Year is a season for everybody,” in one of his thrilling comic actions in a debut of the Nigerian home movie series. 

He is damn right; the season is for everybody because it is customarily patterned to herald fresh hopes of a more gratifying life and prosperity for all humanity.

But the Okah (Henry and Charles) brothers- led Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has negated this essence. 

Photo: File photo of Henry Okah in South African Court on February 28 2013

In what appears like a New Year package to Nigerians, they again stoked fire on their hell-bound souls, blighted selves and the lives of the innocent people of the Niger Delta region with unguided, self-edifying utterances.

Surprisingly, the militant group arrogantly and threateningly blackmailed the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) led by President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), with their known instincts for jungle justice in the creeks of the Niger Delta.

A statement credited to MEND’s mouthpiece, Jomo Gbomo last Sunday, the militant MEND accused President Buhari of reneging on its promise with them. 

It claimed Buhari failed to release the two brothers,  Charles Okah and Henry Okah and others who are either accused of masterminding the October 1st 2010 Independence Day twin car bomb explosions at the Eagle Square in Abuja or the security personnel who breached their oath of office by aiding militancy in the restive Niger Delta region.

The Abuja car bomb incident by MEND linked to the Okah brothers, snuffled life out of 12 Nigerians and wounded 36 citizens. 

Walking down the path of convenience peculiar with Nigerians, where everybody or gang is a Lord unto others, MEND assumed the illegal aura of the Nigerian legislature and proceeded to pass a vote of no confidence on the government of President Buhari. Phew!

MEND derided itself by insisting that despite their declaration of support for the Presidential bid of Buhari in 2015 and cessation of fire thereafter, the Presidency has not reciprocated the concessions endorsed in the series of dialogues reached with MEND’s representatives.

Also, quite smartly, MEND which is clearly on a personal doomed mission of vendetta for their imprisoned leaders, pretended to also advocate at the behest of Niger Delta region. 

It howled that other lawful detainees from the region, held over charges of militant terrorism and those from the Southeast must also be released.

Therefore, angling for a desperate sympathy, which is scarce now, MEND insolently broadened their base of overtly selfish bargaining by claiming Buhari’s government is arrogantly unperturbed and churns out contradictory statements about the politics and economy of the oil-rich Niger Delta region.  

They again coloured the uproar for the release of the suspected criminals,  Okah brothers, by extending the call to include freedom for all others in  their perception of a strange  version of “prisoners of conscience,” in the region.

Straightforwardly, MEND’s belated infantile lamentations’ about declaration of electoral support for Buhari in 2015 is inconsequential.

It is not a hidden fact that their militancy displaced a lot of Niger Deltans. And the infinitesimal number that braved the odds to approximate polling booths on Election Day, casted their votes in favour of ousted former President Goodluck Jonathan against Buhari. 

But that is not the issue because Buhari is President of every Nigerian; not a sectional, tribal or political party leader in the country.  

So, these sentiments were as wayward as the MEND group itself.

What are the contradictory statements of Buhari on the politics or economy of the Niger Delta region, as claimed by MEND?  

Even recently, Buhari reiterated his concern for Niger Delta in his 2017 budget speech to National Assembly.

“Consistent with the views which have also been expressed by the National Assembly, we will continue our engagement with the communities in the Niger Delta to ensure that there is minimum disruption to oil production. 

“The National Assembly, State and Local Governments, Traditional Rulers, Civil Society Organizations’ and Oil Companies must also do their part in this engagement. 

“We must all come together to ensure peace reigns in the Niger Delta.” 

Back to the crux of the matter! The Okah brothers, violently imposed sorrows and pains on the Nigerian people on the day of the Abuja bombing incident. 

By local and international laws, the action is classified as terrorism, which the entire globe does not only amply begrudge, but seeks and monitors prosecution of suspects.

The then incumbent President Jonathan, who initially attempted to shield the culpability of MEND, later recanted himself and claimed, MEND attempted to assassinate him. 

But MEND which boasted of the act, also confessed responsibility and even apologized for the loss of lives.

But suffice it to say, Henry Okah, then leader of MEND, who escaped to South Africa was arrested and charged to court, mainly for terrorism-related charges and gunrunning among others. 

A South African jurist, Justice Neels Claassen who presided over Henry Okah’s trial established his guilt and convicted him for 24 years in jail.


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