Oil state governors and the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Nigeria have moved to ensure that the cease fire declared by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is indeed a cease fire.
The Nigerian officials are open to a cordial declaration of an end to the in-house crisis but are unsure of the genuine nature of the cease-fire declared by MEND as they fear it could only be another tactical deception.
Reports however claim that the cease fire declaration could be genuine as some militant groups have dispatched delegations to Abuja today to present a common position to the Federal Government on the condition for laying down their arms and paving the way for the smooth take-off of the newly created Ministry of Niger Delta.
Despite this positive move, the spokesman for the JTF, Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, said while the military were open to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the region, soldiers would remain on red alert. ‘At the JTF level, we will continue to carefully and firmly monitor the situation, exercise limited level of restraint until MEND’s new position is seen to have been actualised,’ the Colonel said.
In a statement issued this weekend, MEND said that after last week’s intense fighting and damage on the oil industry that was prompted by the malicious attack on one of their positions including random attacks on their civilian communities, their organisation will downgrade the oil war code named ‘Hurricane Barbarossa’ to a state of alert code named ‘Tropical Storm Vigilant.’
According to reports, MEND said ‘We decided to ‘stop outside Baghdad’ even at a time of victory over the military and utter helplessness of the oil companies. This is due to the passionate plea made by Chief Edwin K. Clark, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, Senator David Brigidi and others. We hope that the military has learnt a bitter lesson. The next unprovoked attack will start another oil war that will be so ferocious that it will dim the pleas of the elders. That bloody oil war will come in the form of another hurricane and its devastation and mode of operation will be different from what was seen with Barbarossa.’