The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), believed to have been outlawed after the Nigerian Government presidential amnesty programme, has threw its weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection bid in the February 16th presidential election.
The group stated this in a statement made available to BigPen Online on Tuesday evening, saying that MEND’s new ‘commander’ gave the directives that all of its formation should support Buhari’s reelection.
The new commander whose name was not mentioned, according to Jomo Ghomo, its traditional spokesman has directed “affiliate militant groups to support President Muhammadu Buhari in the Nigerian 2019 polls”.
The ‘commander’ however warned recalcitrant groups planning to attack oil facilities in the Niger Delta to desist, Gbomo said.
The statement read: “Although MEND didn’t officially accept the Federal Government’s Amnesty programme feared to end in 2015, President Buhari has, till date, kept faith with a programme that has positively impacted on youth development in the region.
“Amidst other development efforts stalled by funding problems from dwindling oil-based economy partly occasioned by oil assets vandalism, it is MEND’s view that President Buhari’s re-election bid be supported to enable him demonstrate avowed love for the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
“Accordingly, we inform that this peaceful approach is not cowardice and warn militant groups to shun vandalism of oil facilities. It is reasonable we suspend strategies like oil facilities vandalism that will endanger the environment, help government throw up economic concerns for lack of development action and unwittingly create death-dealing military face-off with defenceless civil populace, before we are willing to go for broke.
“In giving this support, we know the world is watching, notes this peaceful path and hopes that President Muhammadu Buhari will reciprocate rather than fritter away this sufficient goodwill freely given for his re-election/stay in power. We wish to also affirm that MEND remains committed to the good of the Niger Delta”, the statement said.
BigPen Online recalls that MEND was the largest Niger Delta militants group which was fighting for “total control” of the Niger Delta’s oil wealth. The group launched itself onto the international stage in January 2006 by claiming responsibility for the capture of four foreign oil workers. It formations later collapsed in 2009 after its notable field commanders laid down their arms in exchange for cash reward.