The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has rejected contact by the National Dialogue Advisory Committee soliciting its understanding and support for the proposed National Conference.
In a statement today, the group passed a vote of no-confidence on the National Dialogue idea, and identified the committee’s contact man as Tony Uranta, who it said described rejection from a South-South body like MEND as an embarrassment to the presidency.
“Ironically, this solicitation is coming from the same man who has been campaigning repeatedly that MEND seized to exist after the Niger Delta Amnesty fraud,” the statement said.
It noted that its skepticism and suspicion of the so-called National Dialogue may also have to do with the antecedents and lack of integrity of Mr Tony Uranta himself.
“Some hours after we took responsibility for our symbolic October 01, 2010 twin car bomb blasts in Abuja, Mr Tony Uranta sent a text message to Mr Henry Okah, asking him to reach out to me (Jomo Gbomo) to retract our earlier claim of responsibility “as the government of Goodluck Jonathan wants to put the blame on some Northern elements” (specifically, former head of state and 2011 presidential aspirant, General Ibrahim Babangida and Mallam Nasir el Rufai, were the targets for the blame).”
According to the statement, it was in anticipation that MEND was contacted by Mr Henry Okah, that President Goodluck Jonathan confidently came on national television that night to absolve MEND from the attack.
It would be recalled that immediately after the blasts, as MEND claimed responsibility for them, Mr. Jonathan declared, instead, that it was the work of terrorists, and not MEND, which he said was not a terrorist group.
“It is erroneous to think that my people who have been agitating for good living will deliberately blow up the opportunity they have now,” he said.
In its statement today, MEND also recalled that Mr. Uranta was also involved in collecting $50.000 bribe on behalf of the Save Nigeria Group which led to an embarrassing scandal at the time.
“The same people who managed to hoodwink an entire nation into believing that over 30,000 men and women in the Niger Delta, now requiring an annual training/rehabilitation budget of over 30Billion Naira, took up arms. How can the government correlate its display of less than three thousand weapons (most of which were donated by the military for the disarmament show), with more than thirty thousand (30) so-called repentant militants. Were the rest fighting with sticks?”
It noted that millions of hard working Nigerians remain unemployed, the country’s education system is going down the drain with strikes, and the country is getting increasingly full of educated derelicts while the government shares out billions of Naira monthly on miscreants, criminals and con men who claim to have been freedom fighters.
“This scam was designed by people in government such as Timi Alaibe who created ghost fighters with the connivance of those at the highest level,” it said.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) hereby passes a vote of no-confidence.