MEND also said the dialogue must involve ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo. It said this is the only way to end the bombing of oil installations and Niger Delta militancy. The group stated this in a statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo.
The online statement, however, said the dialogue must not be coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser. According to it, the ONSA must not coordinate the dialogue as most of the issues surrounding the Niger Delta question were on the exclusive legislative list and the proposed dialogue was not an interrogatory session.
MEND described members of the Niger Delta Avengers as criminals who had been holding the Federal Government to ransom and forcing concessions. It said members of the NDA also engage in militancy for their own personal aggrandizement.
MEND expressed displeasure that successive governments and the International Oil Companies operating in the crude oil and gas-rich Niger Delta had repeatedly reneged on agreements entered into with the people of the region and also owing the Niger Delta Development Commission billions of naira in withheld funds.
It said: “Government is at liberty to negotiate with arm-twisting unions and criminal groups like the NDA, so long as such negotiations are done in the national interest. “MEND is not opposed to government’s plan to negotiate with the recalcitrant NDA through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
Government must, however, not delude itself into thinking that negotiation with the NDA was tied to the resolution of the Niger Delta question. “Negotiation with NDA is merely a temporary respite, as another opportunistic group is lurking in the shadows, but dialogue and resolution of the Niger Delta question will be a sustainable solution for all stakeholders. “MEND had repeatedly reiterated that the Niger Delta struggle was beyond attacks on oil installations. In fact, destruction of oil and gas pipelines is an elementary course in guerilla warfare, which can be carried out by any militant group.”