- Category: POLITICS
- Published on Wednesday, 16 September 2009 01:28
- Written by Biodun Sowunmi
September 15 signals the end of MEND ceasefire. It also marks the disclosure of intent or the involvement of foreign forces to support the JTF in its war against MEND. Many are bound to reflect on what next.
Quite easily, not a few Nigerians view the news of foreign forces involvement as a military and propaganda tactics aimed at pressuring the MEND's leadership to embrace the Fed Govt amnesty deal, which many felt has failed woefully.
MEND from the onset rejected amnesty as the liberation group believes it is fighting a just war to ensure the development of the Niger-Delta.
There is no sane person who is not appalled by the oppression of the people and the lack of any meaningful signs of modernity in the South-South region. Yet this is the region producing about 95% of the foreign exchange currency through crude oil exports, but left to wallow in abject poverty and enviromental degradation.
Successive Fed Govt responded by creating quangos for the South-South members of the ruling class, with no impact on the lives of the people.
The people converged under the MEND canopy to demand for an end to their povertisation and unjust treatment.
The President responded by granting amnesty without outlining the process of addressing the grievances of the region.
Today, it is reported that foreign forces will be formally contracted to boost the Special Forces tagged JTF.
This appears to be doomed to fail if one takes account of the history of such interventions in other countries. In my view, the protagonists of foreign or mercenaries intervention have learnt nothing from the USA invasion of Somalia, Iran and the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
Already, foreign mercenaries are believed to be minding the operations of the JTF to no avail.
It becomes imperative to ask how they intend to engage a faceless MEND that have mastered the creeks with a conventional army propelled by foreign mercenaries when the Nigerian armed forces have so far failed to neutralise its command and control system?
MEND's demand is simply fiscal federalism. The Fed Govt needs to get serious for once. President Yar'adua can make a difference if there is the political will.
The key to a peaceful resolution is with President Yar'adua and not the MEND leadership. He can begin with a self-belief that military force will not resolve the Niger-Delta crisis. The Americans are only interested in securing the sources of oil powering their economy and are not too concerned with justice and fair play.
Yar'adua needs to demonstrate his intention to be an honest partner by releasing the white paper on the Ledum Mitee led Niger-Delta Technical Committee report and commence implementation immediately. This is the immediate step that can avert more violence in the Delta region.
If MEND is forced by the Federal Govt cosmetic approach to resume the disabling of the pipelines and other infrastructures supporting the brutal rape of their economic resources and the destruction of the Niger-Delta’s land through gas flaring and oil spillages, then Nigerians will hold the Yar'adua regime responsible for its failure to take advantage of MEND's goodwill and desire for peace as exhibited in the just ended ceasefire.
The ball is in Yar'adua's court