MEND Confirms Moves to Settle Jonathan, Okah Brothers’ Rift

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Sunday confirmed moves by the Edwin Clark Peace Committee to settle the long-standing row between former President Goodluck Jonathan and Henry and Charles Okah, who are currently in separate prisons in Nigeria and South Africa.

MEND stated in a statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, that it welcomed the steps being taken by the Ijaw leader to reunite the Okahs, whose altercation with the ex-president dates back to 2010 when they allegedly bombed the venue of Nigeria’s Independence Day celebrations in which 12 persons died.

Separate meetings with lawyer to the two brothers, Mr Timipa Jenkins Okponipere, and Dr Jonathan have been held by Chief Clark with a view to reconciling their differences and dropping their N5bn libel suit threat against the former Nigerian leader, MEND said.

Henry and Charles Okah, leaders of MEND, had threatened to file a legal action against the former President over the allegation of assassination levelled against them.

“The former president’s statement is therefore, most highly contemptuous, injurious to the credit of MEND and the Okah brothers; and, above all, prejudicial to the eventual outcome of the ongoing trials in South African and Nigerian courts, respectively.

“Consequently, both brothers shall, on account of the former President’s prejudicial statement, institute legal action against him (Jonathan)in South Africa and Nigeria within 60 days, commencing from today, August 9, 2016.

“Accordingly, they have briefed their respective Solicitors to formally engage the former president in litigation”, the brothers said, demanding that the former president retracted the assassination allegation which he made in response to insinuations that he was a major sponsor of militancy in the Niger Delta region.

If MEND’s pronouncements that the federal government has acceded to some concessions, including the release of the Okah brothers and moves to reconcile the two warring parties succeed, it would be a breakthrough for the Clark’s peace team.