Ex-militant Leaders To Meet In Bayelsa, Home State Of Former President

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Leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, yesterday, summoned commanders and leaders of the various wings of the militant group to an emergency meeting which will hold tomorrow in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

Although Tompolo did not state the agenda of the meeting, he said the meeting, which will hold at Izon House, Yenagoa, was important.

“My dearly beloved Commanders and Leaders of various wings of the Movement of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, I greet you all. It is my pleasure to humbly invite you to a very crucial and urgent meeting,” his invitation read.

“The place of the Niger Delta in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and appraisal of the former President Goodluck Jonathan government in view of the current happenings in the country will be tabled for discussion at the meeting. The meeting is restricted only to those invited, it is not an all comers meeting, we will make our position known after the meeting,” Vanguard quoted a source to have said.

MEND was disbanded in 2009 after Tompolo and other ex-militant leaders accepted amnesty offered them by the administration of former President Umaru Yar’Adua. Tomorrow’s meeting is the first time all the former commanders and leaders of the militant group are meeting formally since it was disbanded in 2009.

An ex-militant, who was a member of MEND, told newsmen, according to Thisday, that the meeting might deliberate on the formation of a new MEND and take a position on the actions of President Muhammadu Buhari since his assumption of office.

“We are not meeting to declare war,” he insisted. “But the meeting will carefully discuss issues of interest as it affects the Niger Delta region.”

“If you check the region since assumption of power by President Buhari, there are signs of tension due to the administration’s perceived animosity against the region and the beneficiaries of the federal government’s Amnesty Programme. Women have cried out and have pleaded but no answer from Buhari. We cannot fold our arms and let the boys be provoked into violence,” he added.

Tompolo’s media aide, Paul Bebeminibo, while confirming the meeting, said it would deliberate on some important national issues.

“It is a meeting that will discuss a range of issues including those that affect the Niger Delta region,” he said.

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