The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has said that they are currently in talks with the federal government.
The group in a statement by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo on Saturday said that the FG, as part of the deal for a return of peace to the oil-rich Niger Delta, has agreed to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), a former MEND leader, Henry Okah, who is serving a jail sentence in South Africa, Okah’s younger brother, Charles, and Obi Nwabueze.
The statement, according to Vanguard, read:
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is the only militant group from the Niger Delta region who are presently engaged in a dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria – through oil companies and security agencies – with a view to resolving the current Niger Delta crisis.
Thus far, the deliberations have been fruitful, various concessions and guarantees have already been secured. Some of which include, but are not limited to: Release of Henry Okah, Charles Okah and Obi Nwabueze; Review of the life sentence handed to Edmund Ebiware based on a proposal put forward by the Aaron Team representative for Abia and Imo states, Senator Adolphus Wabara.
Also, conditional release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and others if they renounce their agitation for a ‘Biafra Republic’.
That Government Ekpemupolo shall not be arrested, harassed and/or intimidated whenever he makes himself available as a delegate of the MEND Aaron Team.
That international arbitrator and conflict negotiator, American Dr. Judith Asuni shall be accepted as the representative of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) on the MEND Aaron Team; that the criminal charges against Urhobo freedom fighter, Kelvin Prosper Oniarah shall be reviewed.
That the life sentence which was handed to seven soldiers in 2008, who actively supported the Niger Delta struggle be reviewed under the Presidential Amnesty Programme. The affected persons are: Major Suleiman Alabi Akubo, Sgt. Mathias Peter, L.Cpl. Alexander Davou, L.Cpl. Moses Nwaigwe, L.Cpl. Nnandi Anene, L.Cpl. Taatihi Emmanuel, and Caleb Bawa, PTE.
However, one of the most immediate and urgent fallout of the ongoing dialogue is the imperative for the Federal Government and MEND to jointly and separately take proactive steps to rescue and secure the region. This is in the event that the recalcitrant Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), continuing on its senseless and politically-motivated path of attacks on the country’s oil assets.
To this end, both parties agreed that the Special Forces of the Nigerian Army should commence the purely routine but strategic military exercise code-named ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’ while MEND will commence a meet-the Government-Actors-and-People tour of the Niger Delta region code-named ‘Operation Moses’.