Thursday, February 16, 2012

MEND and the new face of agitation (Pt 1)

Business Day
15 September 2012

Zebulon Agomuo

The renewed bombing recently in the Niger Delta gave an indication that the peace that followed the Amnesty Programme of the late Yar'Adua administration was peace of the grave yard after all.

Penultimate Saturday, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) bombed a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Brass area of Bayelsa State.

It also threatened that this relatively insignificant attack is a reminder of our presence in the creeks of the Niger Delta and a sign of things to come.  For over a year now, militant groups in the region have largely been silent in the creeks. After the October 1, 2010 attack at the
Eagle Square Abuja
, which it claimed responsibility; MEND has also been largely quiet.

Analysts, however, explained that the recent bombing in the region may have been carried out by many aggrieved militants who still roam the streets of Niger Delta, bemoaning their fate and envying the turnaround in the lives of their former comrades-at-arms and compatriots who are fast becoming changed citizens and professionals in different fields of endeavor.

Speaking extensively on the possible reason for the renewed hostilities in the region, Ankio Briggs, a Niger Delta activist, said the Amnesty programme and the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan hails from the region were not the solution to the long years of agitation for resource control and meaningful development in the region. Briggs alleged that unemployment, injustice, unlawful arrests and detention of the people without trial among other ills is as widespread as they were before the amnesty programme and election of President Jonathan.

“Those who believe that the amnesty programme has assuaged the anger of the Niger Delta people must be making a serious mistake. I want to tell you here and now that no single road project has been completed, the youths are still roaming about as a result of unemployment; there is widespread injustice and our people are being arrested and detained without trial. On a daily basis, our farmlands are being degraded with spills and by the oil-exploration activities in the region.

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