The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has given conditions for the inclusion of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in its negotiating team for the proposed dialogue with Federal Government towards the resolution of the latest crisis in the Niger Delta.
The conditions were announced in a statement issued by the group on Thursday. MEND, explained the statement, took the decision to have the NDA included in its peace effort after observing that the group is willing to embrace dialogue.
That willingness, said MEND, could be gleaned from an exclusive interview granted by the NDA and published by Vanguard on 11 July.
"After an in-depth study and thorough analysis of the interview, MEND is glad to note that the NDA have finally, welcomed dialogue on the Niger Delta question as the only credible and sustainable solution to the festering Niger Delta question.
"With this development, it has become more imperative for the entire Niger Delta region to unite and speak with a single 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)," declared MEND.
The group added that it has received firm assurances from the Federal Government about its readiness to dialogue with the Aaron Team. This, MEND explained, has created a desire to expand the representational capacity of the Aaron Team to accommodate the (NDA). The group, however, gave terms to be met.
The first of these, said MEND, is that the NDA must publicly renounce all forms of violence through an unconditional ceasefire. "By virtue of the extant provisions of the Presidential Amnesty Proclamation of 2009, all Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) fighters and commanders who agree to ceasefire are automatically entitled to benefit from the Presidential Amnesty Programme after due diligence and documentation by the office of the National Security Adviser and the Presidential Amnesty office headed by Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd)," MEND stated.
Second, demanded MEND, is the NDA must publicly declare full allegiance to the country and recognise Buhari as the country's President and Commander-in- Chief. The third condition listed offers the NDA the opportunity to nominate one delegate to represent the group and articulate its demands.
In addition, MEND demanded that the NDA must make a public declaration to abide by the outcome of the proposed dialogue between the Federal Government and the Aaron Team 2 Initiative. Should the NDA agree to the terms listed and communicate its agreement within seven days from 15 July, MEND concluded, it will be regarded as a genuine partner in the Niger Delta struggle.