The Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) has announced that it is considering taking legal actions against former Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr.Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), and Mr. Bismarck Rewane, a Lagos-based financial analyst for exposing the group to public ridicule, following from their sudden exit from MEND 's Aaron Team 2 Initiative. The two men were expected to lead MEND in the proposed dialogue with the Federal Government.
The group's position was contained in n a press statement signed by Timipa Okponipere, Secretary to MEND'S Aaron Team 2 Initiative. The statement also disclosed that Ajumogobia has tendered an unreserved apology to MEND. His apology, said the group, was made through text messages sent to Okponipere and received at 4.48 pm and 6.06 pm on Saturday.
Extracts of the first message read:
"Dear Timi, I read your statement in response to mine....I did not
seek to embarrass MEND. I have no interest in doing so...the headlines were perhaps unfortunate, and I wish to make clear that they were not mine....I understand why you did what you did. Indeed, I expected a reaction when I saw the distorted headline....There is no sane Niger Delta man that doesn't want the best for our people. Let us try to build bridges....wish you and the peace initiative every success. Kind regards."
MEND, however, remains unappeased. According to Okponipere, the exit of Ajumogobia and Rewane from the MEND's Aaron Team 2 Initiative after accepting to serve was a willful, political machination, which has made the group incur heavy losses.
These losses, explained Okponipere, include, that of an opportunity to pick Mr. Atedo Peterside as its chief negotiator in the proposed dialogue with the Federal Government. Ajumogobia, Okponipere explained, had insisted that he was better qualified and thus, more suitable for the assignment than Peterside.
The Secretary of the Aaron Team 2 Initiative added that the action of the two men also exposed MEND to public ridicule. "Mr.Ajumogobia was expected to provide leadership, but failed when it mattered," said Okponipere.
Particularly offensive to MEND, Okponipere further explained, was the decision of Ajumogobia and Rewane to announce their dissociation from the initiative. This, said MEND, was done without an evaluation of its consequences.
The group noted that it has not been banned by any law and wondered why it was treated with disdain by Rewane and Ajumogobia. It threatened to take both men to court for exposing it to ridicule.
" For the avoidance of doubt, the public at large should please note that MEND has not been outlawed by any legislation in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world.
"While we concede that the group is not yet registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), nevertheless, it can still conduct legitimate business and can also sue and be sued through a lawful attorney acting for and on behalf of the group.
"MEND is, therefore, considering taking legal action against Messrs Ajumogobia and Rewane by dragging them before an FCT High Court in Abuja," said Okponipere.