*Says FG’s body language shows lack of seriousness
One of the militant groups in the Niger Delta, the Ultimate Warriors, on Saturday rejected the position taken by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta to lead the agitators’ negotiations with the federal government.
The group, in a statement by its spokesman, Sibiri Taiowoh, accused MEND of lacking the credibility to take on such a huge task, noting that the ex-militant group would only worsen the current situation.
“Furthermore, MEND should stop playing itself up as if they are one credible body to reckon with in respect to the renewed agitations.
“We did not embrace the dialogue initiative because of MEND; so, it is not for MEND to dictate and set the pace for us.
“Let them not give us or any of our affiliates bogus criteria… otherwise, they would only succeed in worsening the situation”, the group said.
But MEND, while recently accepting the dialogue option, held that the aegis under which all militants would negotiate should be its Aaron 2 Peace Initiative to be headed by a former Foreign Affairs Minister, Odein Ajumogobia.
“With this development, it has become more imperative for the entire Niger Delta region to unite and speak with one voice under a single umbrella in the forthcoming dialogue on the Niger Delta question with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The single umbrella is the MEND Aaron Team 2 peace initiative headed by Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, SAN,” the militant group stressed, after it said it had received “firm assurances from the highest level of government about its readiness to dialogue with the Aaron Team”.
Aside from dissociating itself from the position held by MEND, the Ultimate Warriors also took a swipe at President Buhari, saying that the federal government has refused to put its house in order as the militants prepare for the proposed talks.
“We have watched with chagrin the recent utterances by the President and his Vice and all we are seeing is their tacit double standard and lip service to the demand of the groups as it concerns the Niger Delta question.
“That is why all of our units and affiliates have not fully heeded to the ceasefire. Today the President will say something, tomorrow his Vice and some of their dishonest and selfish lieutenants will contradict him.”