MEND decries military’s use of force in N’Delta

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has decried the Nigerian military’s use of force in the oil rich region in its search for members of the Niger Delta Avengers.

MEND said in a statement on Tuesday that reprisal by the military and the damage to the political, socio and economic lives of the people, especially in Ijaw communities were worrisome.

It (MEND) called on the Nigerian military high command to stick to the rules of engagement and international best practices in carrying out its responsibilities.

The statement signed by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, however, reminded communities habouring members of the NDA that their areas were not protected by the principles of international or municipal laws during conflict period.

The militant group called on the international community and National Emergency Management Agency to dispatch relief materials to the Niger Delta, even as it sympathised with those affected by the operations in the region.

The statement read, “Equally of grave concern to MEND is the disproportionate use of force and the sheer unimaginable dimension of the ongoing Nigerian military onslaught in the Niger Delta region and the attendant collateral damage done to the political, social and economic lives of the ordinary people, especially in the Ijaw communities.

“While we commiserate with the affected persons, families and communities, we seize this opportunity to call on the international community as well as the National Emergency Management Agency to dispatch relief materials to the region, as a matter of utmost priority.

“MEND notes with grave concern the recent renewed spate of unprovoked and persistent attacks on Nigeria’s oil installations by the Niger Delta Avengers; many of whom were MEND commanders and fighters who jumped on the Presidential Amnesty gravy train without knowing why they took up arms in the first place.

“However, we hereby remind our communities who harbour criminals such as members of the NDA that their communities are not protected by the extant principles of international and/or municipal law during a conflict; even as we urge the Nigerian military high command to stick to the rules of engagement and international best practices.”

MEND commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his political will in taking steps to clean up Ogoniland with the launch of the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme on June 2, 2016.

The group lamented that for six decades, successive administrations had pillaged the commonwealth generated from the Niger Delta region in connivance with international oil companies that had failed to protect the environment.

“It is in the light of this premise that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta for and on behalf of the good people of the region, sincerely and warmly commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his political will and sagacity in tackling the vexed issue of the clean-up of Ogoni land with the June 2, 2016 launch and implementation of UNEP Report; one of the cornerstones of our agitation, over the years.

“What is more worrisome to us is the ungodly conspiracy of silence of the region’s elite and their tacit support of the NDA’s conduct under the pretext of a so-called Niger Delta struggle, which went to sleep in luxury hotel suites in Abuja and around the world for the entire duration of the 6 years of Mr. Jonathan’s binge and unmitigated disaster as President,” the statement read.



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