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Finally, bubble bursts as MEND accuses Buhari of blackmail, withdraws support

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                                                               N'Delta militants

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) having viewed and studied many irreconcilable differences has withdrawn its support for President Buhari over what it described as blackmailing the Niger Delta region.

Recall the militant group had expressed support for Buhari in the buildup to the 2015 federal elections in Nigeria that saw the emergence of Buhari as president.

In a statement on Sunday, Jomo Gbomo, spokesman of MEND, alleged that Buhari has been making conflicting and contradictory statements about the politics and economy of the region.

“Without prejudice to the pre 2015 presidential election endorsement freely and voluntarily given to President Muhammadu Buhari on January 6, 2015, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) hereby categorically and unequivocally pass a vote of no confidence on the government of President Buhari,” the statement read.

“Prior to and after his reluctant meeting with the traditional rulers, opinion leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta region, under the auspices of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) on November 1, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari has been carrying on arrogantly and making controversial, prejudicial, conflicting and contradictory statements about the politics and economy of the oil-rich region.

“Prior to the inauguration of PANDEF, the several sessions of dialogue held between representatives of MEND, on the one hand; and those of the federal government, on the other hand; where concessions were secured for the release of the Okah Brothers and several other political detainees and prisoners of conscience was a grand deception on the part of the federal government.”

The group accused Buhari of going back on the agreements reached at the dialogue and attempting to “truncate the on-going peace process in Nigeria, sabotage the legal options open to Henry Okah and simultaneously influence the on-going trial of Charles Okah and others, at the federal high court in Abuja, in favour of the federal government.”

MEND demanded that the federal government direct the relevant agencies to engage with the Niger Delta region.

“Furthermore, notice is hereby given to the federal government that all Niger Delta Militant commanders and/or individuals who were tracked and arrested while observing a ceasefire ahead of talks with the FG should be treated well,” it said.

“They should be allowed access to their lawyers, the International Red Cross and a delegation from PANDEF so as to ascertain their well-being and ensure they have not been tortured or killed, extra judicially.”

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