From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has condemned destruction of oil assets by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the military for the violence and onslaught against the people.
MEND condemned the NDA and accused Niger Delta elite of conspiracy by not calling the group to order.
The group frowned on what it called “disproportionate use of force” by the military and called for respect for the rules of engagement.
MEND, in the statement signed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, called on the international community and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to dispatch relief materials to the region as a matter of urgency.
Gbomo also tasked any community harbouring members of NDA to expose them to prevent a clampdown.
The statement reads in part: “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) notes with grave concern the recent renewed spate of unprovoked and persistent attacks on Nigeria’s oil installations by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA); many of whom were MEND commanders and fighters who jumped on the presidential amnesty gravy train without knowing why they took up arms in the first place.
“What is more worrisome to us is the ungodly conspiracy of silence of the region’s elite and their tacit support of the NDA’s conduct under the pretext of a so-called ‘Niger Delta struggle’.
“Nevertheless, equally of grave concern to MEND is the disproportionate use of force and the sheer unimaginable dimension of the ongoing reprisal by the military in the Niger Delta region and the attendant collateral damage done to the political, social and economic lives of the ordinary people, especially in the Ijaw communities.
“While we commiserate with the affected persons, families and communities, we seize this opportunity to call on the international community as well as NEMA to dispatch relief materials to the region, as a matter of utmost priority.
“However, we, hereby, remind our communities that harbour criminals such as members of the NDA that their communities are not protected by the extant principles of international and/or municipal law during a conflict; even as we urge the military high command to stick to the rules of engagement and international best practices.”
On the recent launch of the Ogoni clean up in line with the report of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), MEND commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his political will and sagacity in tackling the vexed issue of the cleanup of Ogoniland with the June 2 launch and implementation of UNEP Report; one of the cornerstones of our agitation, over the years.”