Sunday, July 12, 2009

Amnesty Offer fails to dissuade MEND rebels

Granted, the amnesty offered by the Government of Nigeria has yet to be fully implemented, and Henry Okah has yet to be released, but things are not exactly getting quieter in the Niger River Delta area. H. Okah being the "suspected" leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

In fact, the MEND raiders are claiming another attack today on the Atlas Cove Jetty oil loading facility in Lagos state.

So why hasn't this political process (the amnesty) bought any calm? Here's one opinion:
Human Rights Watch criticised the amnesty programme last month, saying it would not end the Niger Delta crisis because it did not punish the politicians that helped fund armed gangs.

Many of the gunmen behind the kidnappings, oil theft and violent crime in the delta were first hired by local politicians to intimidate opponents or fix elections.
They still are hired to do just that. There will be a round of elections come 2011, and the political players in the region are still operating on the "one bullet, one less ballot" school of community organizing.

If that makes one think that the MEND rebels are being used, that their hope for real autonomy is undermined by their part in the rampant criminality in the region, one would be right.

The people of the Delta need a better cause to support.

No comments: