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Niger Delta: Tension as MEND ultimatum expires

Posted by By AGAPTUS ANAELE on 2006/03/13 | Views: 526 |

Niger Delta: Tension as MEND ultimatum expires


With the expiration of the deadline given to the federal government by Movement for the Emancipation of Niger-Delta (MEND) militants Friday, tension has escalated in the troubled region as unconfirmed sources allege that federal ministers from the region may soon get a marching order.

With the expiration of the deadline given to the federal government by Movement for the Emancipation of Niger-Delta (MEND) militants Friday, tension has escalated in the troubled region as unconfirmed sources allege that federal ministers from the region may soon get a marching order.

Presidency sources told Sunday Sun that the president gave the warning on Thursday after a brief close door meeting with his cabinet members from the region.

Apparently concerned with the persisting deadlock in the negotiation for the release of the remainder of the 9 hostages, President Obasanjo was quoted as saying that “some of you are not fit to continue in this government considering what is going on in your area. Some of you are not even respected at home, so it is not surprising to me if you are unable to create impact in what is going on. You better go and talk to your people because what is happening will affect you as an individual and as Nigerians”.
Sunday Sun also learnt that based on the threat, all the political appointees from the region may have left Abuja for their various ethnic homes.

Subsequently, marathon meetings are said to have started in earnest in Warri, Delta State and in Yenagoa Bayelsa State on Thursday evening.

Sunday Sun further gathered that while the minister of state in the Ministry of Defence, Chief Oritshajafor is alleged to be holding meetings with Itsekiri leaders while the Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Brodenik Bozimo is also alleged holding meetings with Ijaw leaders and youths.

Meanwhile, the defiant Ijaw militant youths have turned deaf ears to numerous entreaties from the Delta State government through some agents to free the foreign nationals presently being held hostage by the unrepentant militias.

The youths, sources claimed, have since slammed the door against some notable Ijaw leaders who played significant role in the release of the first batch of six of the nine hostages a forthnight ago.
It was gathered that the youth have made up their minds to meet face to face with President Olusegun Obasanjo and ask his position with their ten point demands forwarded to him through governor Ibori on the day six of the hostages regained their freedom.

Feelers from a crucial but elongated meeting between governor Ibori and some notable Ijaw leaders may yield fruitful results as the leaders were unanimous to meet again with the warring youths to further persuade them to listen to reason.

“Government is greatly worried over the refusal by the embittered youths to let go the foreign nationals as they are not part of our problems. To be candid the governor is unrelenting in his approach to free the captive”, said a source under anonymity.

Sunday Sun further gathered that the youths sympathized with the situation of the state government, but they are however not ready to listen to any local appeal again save a concrete policy statement from the presidency.

Investigation revealed that the removal Wednesday of the erst while commander, Joint military Task force on Niger Delta crises Brigadier-General Elias Zamani may be a welcome development for the youths to relax and free the hostages, being one of the conditions given to the federal government.

But tension grew worse Friday following the massacre of four soldiers and one mobile police officer Thursday along the Escravos waterways, a situation which gave rise to anxiety and tension that eventually culminated into villagers fleeing their abode to neighboring villages.

Unconfirmed reports say that both American and the British government are planning to invade the riverside communities of where the hostages have been relocated.
Incidentally, the fearless militias who says they are battle ready for any eventuality have said they would not go back on their ten point demands.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.