– Split and power struggle in the Niger Delta between various armed groups threaten the dialogue and restoration of peace in the region
– Three Egbesu militant groups challenge both the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in a fresh statement
– Minister Ibe Kachikwu visited Niger Delta on June 16, attempted to start a dialogue
Reformed Egbesu Boys, Egbesu Water Lions and Egbesu Mythier Fraternity issued a joint statement addressed to the minister of state for petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, on Saturday, June 18.
The three militant groups have categorically stated that neither the NDA, nor the MEND representatives have permission to represent their interests in the dialogue with the federal government.
The statement obtained by Vanguard read in part:
“We write on behalf of the Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, Egbesu Water Lions and Egbesu Mythier Fraternity to bring to the urgent attention of the federal government that the negotiation with the ‘avengers’ is lopsided.
“It will be recalled that various militant groups make up the Niger Delta Avengers and we were taken aback that the federal government team is negotiating with Gbaramatu kingdom representatives only.
“Be reminded that this current crisis is not a particular ex-militant leader affair and, therefore, Gbaramatu representatives cannot negotiate with the Federal Government to the exclusion of other active participants in the crisis.
“Consequently, we warn that the negotiation team be expanded to include various active group reps that participated in this current crisis. Failure to heed this wise counsel, aggrieved stakeholders will resort to doing what we know best.
“When the need for the cessation of hostilities arose as a result of pleas arising from national and international sources, the Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta were the first to unilaterally declare ceasefire.”
The three Egbesu militants groups said MEND exists only on the pages of newspaper and hotels rooms in Abuja and, therefore, could not speak for militant groups in the region. This has been emphasised in reaction to reacting to MEND Aaron Team 2, a team established last year for dialogue with the newly-elected president, Buhari.
“MEND exists only on newspaper pages and hotel rooms in Abuja. We are taken aback that those who collectively destroyed the struggle want to recruit very respected elders for sinister motives.
“If the federal government negotiates with the purported MEND team as published, the consequences would be fatal and devastating to the multinationals as usual. We ceased hostilities in the larger collective interest of the Niger Delta environment, security of the people of the Niger Delta and the economic stability of the Nigerian state and the world at large.
“We wish to warn that the Ijaw nation is and shall not be taken as cannon fodder to the other ethnic nationalities as we are seen to be. We are branded criminals and all sorts of name-calling, but when the Federal Government calls for dialogue, our traditional antagonists and agent provocateurs would be the first to present them for dialogue.”
The groups also said they object the commencement of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) with all their might.
It would be recalled that the NDA also doubted the revival of the MEND. Apart from it, the group denied being “a part of any dialogue deal that will not bring about the peace of our time; but we want a peace with honour”.
The militant group also said earlier this week that political thugs were present at this week’s meeting with Minister Kachikwu, not the real ‘avengers’.