The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has described as irresponsible and callous act, a feeble attempt by the National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, to suggest a relationship between it (MEND) and the All Progressives’ Congress.
Metuh, on Wednesday, while reacting to MEND’s statement drumming up support for the presidential candidate of the APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), demanded that the opposition party declared the nature of its relationship with the militant group.
“What exactly does APC have in common with MEND? Why do they want to resurrect it? Nigerians want to know. Are we also expecting a similar statement from insurgents in the north, who initially named General Buhari to lead the dialogue between them and the Federal Government?” the PDP asked yesterday. This query has been regarded in some quarters as another attempt by the ruling party to frame the opposition and its presidential candidate as sponsors of violence.
The militant group in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, on Wednesday, also lampooned the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) for suggesting in a press statement by its spokesman, Eric Omare, that it (MEND) was a ghost organisation, describing the youths’ body as “a mere tribal assembly and political praise singers”.
MEND wondered what happened within six months after the same IYC commended it for declaring a cease fire.
But responding to the MEND’s statement, IYC’s spokesman, Omare, maintained the position of Ijaw youths worldwide, stressing that any group involved in guerrilla warfare can never be seen as having any electoral value, unlike the ex-militant leaders, who he said recently expressed support for President Goodluck Jonathan.
IYC said, “These are known men, whom you have always known in person and they held their meeting in Akwa Ibom State.
“Who is Jomo Gbomo, let him come out and declare his support?”
However, the MEND, which also encouraged Nigerians to disregard recent threats by some ex-militant leaders, who had declared their support for President Jonathan, denied any link or relationship with the APC, stating that its support for Buhari was because of his capabilities, measured against the failures so far witnessed under the Jonathan administration.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) views the recent question and statement credited to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, as very callous and irresponsible. This question: ‘Explain your connections with MEND’, further confirms and vindicates our views about Goodluck Jonathan, his inept government and the PDP.
“MEND strongly denies any links with the All Progressive Congress (APC) and has never been approached for anything, at any point in time, by the party, as pettily alleged by Olisa Metuh.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) stands strongly by our endorsement and full support of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the man to lead the country out of its present calamitous state in the hands of Goodluck Jonathan.
“MEND finds it laughable the recent statement by Mr. Eric Omare, the Publicity Secretary of a mere tribal assembly and political praise singers, known as the Ijaw Youth Council, stating that ‘MEND is a ghost’. We clearly understand their frustrations at our stance as it obviously came as a shock to them.
“Nigerians should ask this man (Eric Omare), if he was referring to ‘ghosts’ when he lauded MEND for declaring a temporary ceasefire six months ago.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) once more, urges Nigerians to ignore the empty threats of this so-called ‘ex-agitators’ and the Ijaw Youth Council. Their reckless utterances only ridicule and confirm the colossal failure of the ‘Amnesty Programme.’ We advise the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) to use their idle time in telling and showing Nigerians and Niger Deltans what the government of Goodluck Jonathan has done or achieved in Nigeria and the region in the last six years in office, apart from giving them handouts called ‘Monthly Stipends”, the statement said.