Negotiations: Militants Reject MEND, Say Group Only Pushing for Okah’s Release

By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Ultimate Warriors, a group of Niger Delta agitators, on Sunday rejected the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta’s insistence on leading negotiations with the federal government.

Describing the once-dreaded MEND as mere jobbers, it maintained that the only agenda on the ex-militant group’s programme was to ensure the release of the Okah brothers currently in jail, both in Nigeria and South Africa.
According to the Ultimate Warriors, the much talked about MEND Aaron Team, which is positioning itself to lead the entire Niger Delta agitators, would only cause more trouble in the midst of the many groups in the region.
A statement released on behalf of the group by its spokesman, Sibiri Taiowoh, argued that having earlier rejected the amnesty programme, the brothers should not benefit from it.

“Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the defunct MEND that is now an internet-based group of jobbers.

“We want to let the public know that the MEND that we know under which the likes of Tompolo, Boyloaf and other ex-warlords operated has since been disbanded by the group of ex-agitators who were registered under the Amnesty Programme.
“The current MEND and its so-called Aaron Team 2 is a concoction of the Okah brothers and family”, the group alleged.

It added, “The sole aim of this so-called MEND and the flaunted Aaron Team is to get Henry Okah and Charles Okah pardon under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
“But they have forgotten that the Okah brothers were actually the ones who tried to sabotage the amnesty programme initiated by the late President Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Is it the amnesty that the Okah brothers declared as a sham and they never supported that they want the President to use to pardon the Okah brothers or what kind of clemency are they trying to push for the Okahs?”, the Ultimate Warriors queried.

“Is it not funny that the MEND that is now Okah’s business is asking for amnesty for Niger Delta Avengers and giving conditions to have them added to the dialogue team when the same MEND cannot openly ask for amnesty for the Okah brothers instead they are trying to sneak into the house through the backdoor?

“We are against the MEND Aaron Team arrangement because it is utterly against our mission and their aims is in conflict with ours.

“ What they are pushing for is freedom for the Okahs which they are trying to use to sabotage our agitations for resource control, rapid development, and freedom for the poor people of the Niger Delta”, the group argued.

It maintained that “MEND was nowhere when this new face of the struggle started”, adding that “they should stop trying to lord it over us”.

“ What is happening is that MEND is trying to leverage on the renewed crisis to press for the release of the Okahs through the Amnesty Programme which the duo failed to support at inception.