Shelve Plans to Attack Muslims, Presidency Begs MEND
The Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, has appealed to the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, to shelve its threat to attack Muslims in the region.
Mr. Kuku, who is also Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, made the appeal in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday.
The presidential aide urged MEND to explore the window of dialogue through his office.
“As a firm believer in dialogue to resolve disputes, I implore MEND to channel its grievances through the open channel of communication that my office offers. My office is always open for dialogue with any aggrieved group in the Niger Delta irrespective of the issue,’’ Mr. Kuku said.
He said the success of the amnesty programme was achieved through dialogue.
“Today, thousands of youths from the region are being equipped with vocational and other skills through the instrumentality of the amnesty programme for former agitators in the region.
“Those that were skeptical about the programme are now surprised that youths from the region are becoming players in the aviation sector through the pilot training component of the amnesty programme.
“Only last weekend, 16 of them were decorated as Commercial Pilots at the Africa Union Aviation Academy in South Africa,” he said.
According to him, his office is particularly concerned about the fresh threat because it does not want the region to regress to violence again.
“Besides, any threat to worshippers of any religion in a section of the country is a threat to the whole country.
“Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta, needs peace for the development that we yearn for in the region to take place,” he said.
Mr. Kuku maintained that any violent reaction in the Niger Delta to the insurgency in the North by the Boko Haram would worsen the security situation in the country.
He said all hands were on deck to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the north.
“Boko Haram should not be MEND’s problem. Already, the government is on top of the situation and we are confident that a solution will be found soon.
“There is no price that is too big to pay for peace to be achieved in any part of Nigeria,’’ Mr. Kuku said.
MEND had threatened to attacks mosques and Islamic institutions in the Niger Delta starting from May 31. The group said its planned attack, tagged “Operation Barbarossa,” is a response to the Boko Haram attacks on churches in Northern Nigeria, and also to demand the release of Henry Okah, one of its leaders, from a South African Prison.
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