MEND Confirms Talks with FG, Says Discussions not with Criminals but Militants

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Sylvester Idowu in Warri

In an apparent reference to the Niger Delta militants and other such groups, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said on Sunday that the Federal Government would not dialogue with criminals in finding solutions to the renewed crisis in the Niger Delta region.

The militant group, though no longer employing violence in its agitation this time, confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that the Federal Government was actually dialoguing with Niger Delta militants through the oil companies and law enforcement agents.

According to a statement signed by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, MEND declared: “The Federal Government made it clear during our meetings that a negotiation with criminals is out of the question.

“The Niger Delta Avengers, internet-based ‘militant’ groups such as Joint Revolutionary Council, Ultimate Warriors etc., an Ijaw opportunistic tribal assembly, which were compromised to keep silent during the six (6) years of Goodluck Jonathan’s misrule and neglect, pirates, pipeline vandals, oil thieves, commercial kidnappers, waterway robbers, political thugs and miscreants all fall under this category”, it added.

MEND said emphatically that it had been holding talks with the Federal Government through the oil companies and the security agencies thus confirming the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that government was talking to militants in the region.

“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wishes to confirm that indeed it has been in preliminary talks with the Federal Government through oil companies and law-enforcement agencies as revealed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

“These preliminary talks are the precursor to a wider dialogue between the Federal Government and the MEND Aaron 2 peace initiative, which will seek to find solutions to the short, medium and long-term future of the Niger Delta region”, it added.

Niger Delta Avengers, which is the reigning violent militant group in the region had, over the weekend, denied President Buhari’s position that government was discussing with militants.

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