Following the news of the “resuscitation” of the militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) which broke this week, there has been a heightened concern over the possibility of renewed unrest in the oil rich region.
The meeting slated for today, Saturday, July 25, 2015 to hold at the Izon House in Yenagoa in Bayelsa, is being convened by MEND leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.
Relief may have come for security agencies in the region as the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has intervened in the situation and called for the postponement of the meeting of the MEND commanders, saying he would meet with the former militants to discuss the issues affecting them.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dickson, Daniel Iworiso-Markson issued a press statement, Friday, July 24, 2015, in which he said, “Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has called for the postponement of the proposed meeting of the leaders of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta, earlier scheduled for this Saturday, 25th of July, 2015 in Yenagoa by them.
“The governor will meet with them soon to discuss issues as they affect the ex-agitators and other issues of overall strategic interest of the region and the nation as a whole.”
Dickson also called for the “the understanding and cooperation of all concerned.”
MEND has remained silent on whether it has heeded Dickson’s call.
Tompolo who is a staunch supporter of former President Goodluck Jonathan, founded the militant group that waged a campaign against oil production in the region and crippled the nation’s economy from 2005 till 2009. At a point, the administration of late President Musa Yar’Adua declared Tompolo as the most wanted man in Nigeria.
The Niger Delta restiveness only ended when the late President Musa Yar’Adua successfully negotiated a cease-fire and launched the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme.
In the weeks leading up to the presidential elections, this year, Tompolo and other militant group leaders had threatened to make the country ungovernable if Jonathan lost. But, in a surprise move, he appealed for calm after Buhari emerged the winner of keenly contested race.