Ahead of Wednesday’s (today) much-publicized signing of a ceasefire agreement between the militant groups in Nigeria’s oil-rich state of Bayelsa and the federal government, the region’s main militants have disavowed the agreement.
”This is being orchestrated by the government to deceive the international community,” said the spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Jomo Gbomo.
”MEND is not part of any such agreement,” the spokesman added in a message e-mailed to PANA Wednesday, in response to questions over the agreement.
Senator David Brigidi, Chairman of the National and State Presiden tial Committee on Peace and Conflict Reconciliation in the Niger Delta, had told journalists Monday that the ceasefire deal was part of the outcome of negotiations by the militants and the committee.
He said the deal was preparatory to the holding of the Summit on the Niger Delta, which has been proposed by the federal government.
Bayelsa is the home base of MEND, whose attacks on oil facilities and kidnapping of foreign oil workers have helped slashed Nigeria’s oil production.
MEND has renounced the unilateral ceasefire it declared shortly after President Umaru Yar’Adua assumed office 29 May 2007, citing the arrest of one of its leaders on gun-running charges in Angola.
The militant group has since resumed its attacks and abductions.