The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has dismissed President Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration of an Advisory Committee on the proposed National Dialogue, describing it as “another deceit, a distraction, waste of public funds and time” which has “absolutely nothing else to offer.”
In a statement today, it called on members of the National Assembly to rise up to their responsibilities and justify their huge salaries and fringe benefits.
“Reversing the injustice meted out especially from the General Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo military regimes on the people of the Niger Delta, is one of such responsibilities,” the statement said.
It argued that in Nigeria's return to democratic governance, the unjust distortion of the Nigerian Constitution by military dictators has been widely acknowledged.
“This mutilation of the pre-independence constitution laid the foundation for militancy in the Niger Delta. Military dictators on account of oil, stripped the indigenes of the Niger Delta of their land and God given mineral resources which have for 53 years been used to develop other parts of Nigeria while the people of the Niger Delta survive in abject poverty without basic necessities such as potable water, electricity, roads, schools, habitable shelter to mention a few.”
On the part of civilian administrations, MEND said that understanding the illegality of the constitution mutilation by the military, they have been quick to amend convenient sections of the constitution carefully avoiding areas to do with the theft of the land of the people of the Niger Delta by individuals hiding under the cloak of the "Federal Government" in collusion with Western governments and their accompanying oil companies, thus attempting to legitimize an obvious crime.
“The fact that this crime has continued unchallenged for more than four decades does not make it more palatable to the indigenes of the Niger Delta who have endured a terrible crime which the world has found convenient to ignore,” the movement said.
“Instead of wasting time to rant over what can be expressed in the opinion columns of newspapers, or radio and television talk shows at a reduced cost, our National Dialogue should focus on Corruption: The Mother of all terrors which is tantamount to this government,” MEND stressed.
In the absence of this constitutional step, the group said it agreed with the late Otto von Bismarck who once remarked, “The great questions of the time will be decided, not by speeches and resolutions, but by iron and blood”.