The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, which earlier this week dismissed the proposed National Dialogue by President Goodluck Jonathan as diversionary and a waste of resources, says it has come under pressure to change its stance and endorse the talks.
In a terse statement purportedly issued by the group’s spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, MEND claimed that a member of the newly inaugurated national advisory committee on the National Dialogue, Mr Tony Uranta, was mounting pressure on it to endorse the national dialogue.
Gbomo claimed that Uranta had contacted MEND to endorse the National Dialogue by Mr. Jonathan, because “a rejection coming from a South-South body like MEND is an embarrassment to the presidency.”
Gbomo, who wondered why Uranta, who has repeatedly insisted that the organization had long ceased to exist after the granting of presidential amnesty to militants would make an about turn to solicit its support, said it re-affirmed MENDs’ vote of no-confidence on the members of the committee and the national dialogue itself.
The group’s spokesman again maintained that the presidential amnesty programme is a drain on national resources, pointing out that the government has failed to correlate its display of less than 3000 weapons with more than 30,000 so-called repentant militants.
In his reaction to the allegation by MEND, Mr. Uranta, who is the Executive Secretary of the National Summit Group, NSG, said he would rather remain silent on the matter as he was on a national assignment.