Former militant leaders in the Niger Delta, who embraced the amnesty programme of the Federal Government, under the auspices of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, LPCDI, yesterday, said the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, died in 2009 and advised Nigerians to ignore any claim or threat emanating from a faceless group claiming to be MEND.
The repentant militant leaders were reacting to Tuesday’s explosion at the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, WRPC, Warri, Delta State, which was allegedly carried out by MEND.
A statement released by MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo in aftermath of the Warri Refinery explosion read, “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) takes responsibility for the sabotage this morning, Tuesday, October 22 (yesterday), inside the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refinery in Warri, Delta State. ‘Hurricane Exodus’ was intended to burn down the entire refining facility.
“As long as President Goodluck Jonathan continues to rely on the unsustainable and Niger Delta Amnesty programme, peace and security will continue to elude his government in the region”, Gbomo said.
But denouncing the claim by MEND, the ex-militant leaders, in a statement by their president, Pastor Reuben Wilson, said: “MEND ceased to exist from the day we accepted the amnesty offer of the Federal Government. Nigerians should henceforth disregard any claim or threat by MEND because the group died in 2009.”
According to him, the acclaimed spokesman of MEND, Jomo Gbomo, never existed.
“We make bold to say that there is no organization called MEND. Yes, we used MEND and the name Jomo Gbomo for our propaganda activities when we were in the creeks. But from the very day we accepted the amnesty offer in 2009, MEND died. We challenge the person called Jomo Gbomo to show his face if he exists. For the avoidance of doubt, there is nobody bearing that name. Everything about MEND was a creation of the computer and the internet.
“All of us that used the name of MEND have since accepted amnesty and have left the creeks. So, MEND is dead. A person or an organisation that does not exist cannot be responsible for the explosion at the Warri Refinery. The claim attributed to MEND is false and Nigerians should not believe any report about MEND for any reason. While we sympathise with the Federal Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Nigerians on the Warri explosion, we hasten to urge security operatives to investigate the incident. If sabotage is detected, the culprits should be prosecuted. Nobody should hide under the guise of a so-called MEND to sabotage the nation’s economy.”
According to the group, “We restate that the amnesty programme of the Federal Government is working and those of us that are beneficiaries are happy that we were given the privilege to come out of the creeks to contribute to the peace and development of the country. We know those who were in our various camps and we also are aware that all of them surrendered their arms. Since we disarmed, oil production activities have been carried out without hiccups.
“We cannot list the gains of the amnesty programme because they are amazingly innumerable. There may be people that are not happy that the Niger Delta now knows peace and may be fighting hard to discredit the amnesty programme. But we know that Nigerians and indeed the whole world know that the amnesty scheme is a huge success.”