WARRI—THERE are ongoing high-level talks to resolve the differences between the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND and Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, on the one hand, and MEND and the pan-Niger Delta group recently set up in Warri, Delta State, to speak with one voice for the region.
It was learned, yesterday, that there is a consensus among the warring militant groups and leaders to uphold the decision of the monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta coastal states, that nobody should undermine the decisions taken at the meeting convened by Chief Edwin Clark and others.
The Presidency, international community and traditional rulers from the North and other parts of the country had called Chief Clark to commend him for the initiative, which has practically reduced tension in the region.
MEND, whose intervention other stakeholders misconstrued, also got the wrong impression about the move of the Niger Delta monarchs and leaders, which it wrongly assumed to be a delegation led by Chief Clark.
Vanguard gathered that the Aaron Team 2 Dialogue, Peace and Development Initiative, the interface group of MEND, would meet shortly with Chief Clark to look at the temperamental areas and bury the hatchet.
Secretary of MEND’s Aaron Team 2, Mr Timikpa Okponipere, told Vanguard that the group headed by Odein Ajumogobia, SAN, would meet with Clark soon to iron out issues.
Contacted, Chief Clark confirmed that he was contacted by secretary of Aaron Team 2 and that they would want to visit him in Warri to sort out grey areas.
A Niger Delta leader, who spoke to Vanguard, yesterday, described the move by Aaron Team 2, as a wise initiative, as people were beginning to see the people of the region as unserious and divided.
Spokesperson of the Ultimate Warriors of Niger Delta, Sibiri Taiowoh, in a statement, cautioned the Federal Government “to be wary of those using the defunct MEND, which it accused of “seeking political relevance and wanting to free incarcerated Henry and Charles Okah who are dishing out commands from their prison cells.”
The group said that MEND’s proposal would cause more crises in the Niger Delta if government failed to heed its persistent warning.
Also, National Secretary, Urhobo Youth Leaders Association and former youth president general of Udu Kingdom, Delta State, Vincent Oyibode, called on the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, NDGJM, a militant group that rejected appeals by Niger Delta monarchs and leaders in the region to sheathe its sword.
The group, which also kicked against the establishment of a pan-Niger Delta group to speak for the region, actually bombed a pipeline in the state a day before the stakeholders met in Warri.
Oyibode condemned the attack on an oil pipeline in Udu by the Greenland Justice Mandate and appealed to the members to embrace the initiative of the leaders of the region, though he said that the federal and state governments, oil companies, NDDC, DESOPADEC and other development agencies have marginalized the area, Udu youths should give peace a chance.
Also, a pan Niger Delta civil society group has called on President Buhari to embrace the Niger Delta monarchs/leaders’ initiative for peace to reign in the region. The coalition includes the Niger Delta Security Watch Organisation of Nigeria, led Dickson Bekederemo, Ijaw Human Rights Monitors, headed by Mr Fred Brisibe, Ijaw People’s Development Initiative, led by Austin Ozobo and Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-inflammatory Corruption Crusade, shepherded by Alaowei Cleric.