The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has described as “provocative”, Monday’s statement by Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, that the army would resort to force should peace talks with militants fail.
Responding on Tuesday, MEND said such a statement is “insensitive, provocative, unprofessional and prejudicial to the fair outcome of the ongoing preliminary talks”.
“The attention of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been drawn to a statement made in Port Harcourt on Monday July 25, 2016 by the Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Buratai to the effect that the Nigerian military authorities will resort to the use of force if dialogue to resolve the current Niger Delta crisis fails,” read a statement by the group, signed by Jomo Gbomo.
“MEND hereby makes it clear that General Buratai’s statement is insensitive, provocative, unprofessional and prejudicial to the fair outcome of the ongoing preliminary talks regarding the Niger Delta crisis between representatives of oil companies and security agencies, on the one hand; and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), on the other hand.
“We therefore warn the Chief of Army Staff to guard his utterances, refrain from making political and inflammatory statements and stick to his primary responsibility.
“We use this opportunity to appeal to the good people of the Niger Delta to remain patient with the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and keep hope alive, as MEND and the Aaron Team 2 Dialogue, Peace and Development Initiative led by Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, SAN and HRH King Alfred Papapreye Diette-Spiff are working assiduously to secure sustainable concessions for the region from the Government.
“While MEND has already kick-started the dialogue process with the ongoing preliminary talks, the Aaron Team, made up of distinguished and accomplished personalities from the region, is waiting on the sidelines to conclude the dialogue process.
“Long live Niger Delta…Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!”