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Offline bolaji

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The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has given President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration two weeks to open talks with its “Reach out to ‘Aaron Team’ or face consequences.
MEND also responded to a recent piece titled ‘President Buhari sharpens focus on Niger Delta’, authored by Garba Shehu, presidential assistant on media and publicity.

Garba had lambasted the Niger Delta Avengers for “killing soldiers and policemen, kidnapping and killing of oil company workers and asking oil companies to stop operations and pack out of the Niger Delta region”.

According to him: “They blow up oil pipelines, power and other infrastructure. They attack and kill prominent individuals, ransacking homes up and down the coastal areas, including lately, Lagos and Ogun states. All these for what?”

MEND, however, denied that Niger Delta militants were behind the killings and attacks on some coastal communities in Lagos and Ogun.

Calling on Buhari to act fast in addressing issues it had earlier raised, the group listed names of those the government must negotiate with, warning that “if we don’t hear from the Federal Government, MEND shall safely assume that it is truly not sincere about dialogue on the Niger Delta question and responds only to the threat of violence or industrial action”.

The attention of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been drawn to an article titled: “President Buhari Sharpens Focus On Niger Delta,” written by Mr. Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.

We have carefully studied and analysed the article. We wholeheartedly applaud and welcome President Buhari’s sharpened focus on the Niger Delta even though, in our estimation, Mr. Shehu’s article ironically did more to obtuse the focus.

Mr. Shehu’s piece was unfortunately marred by sweeping assumptions; hasty generalization; illogicality and poor analysis of the Niger Delta question and, above all, the article merely provided lame excuses for Government’s inability to proffer sustainable solutions to the Niger Delta crisis.

It was tactless of Mr. Shehu to arrive at a conclusion in his article that, Niger Delta militants were behind the killings of prominent individuals and attacks on some coastal communities in Lagos and Ogun states. This casual but hasty generalization from a Presidential spokesperson is, to say the least, steeply divisive and capable of sparking a tribal war of unimaginable consequences between the Ijaws (whose youth are perceived to constitute a large number of the rank and file of Niger Delta militants) and the Yorubas.
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