General Boyloaf, second-in-command to the detained leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has decided to lay down his arms and accept the amnesty offered by the Federal Government. This announcement comes a day after reports claimed that Government Ekpemupolo, the dreaded leader of another notorious Niger Delta militant group has fled the country.
This decision to surrender to peace by MEND has caused division amongst the factions of rebel/activist groups in the Niger Delta who claim that Boyloaf is trying to paint his group good and other groups bad.
General Boyloaf who is now the acting leader of MEND was quoted as saying: “What I am saying is that I am prepared to lay down my arms and embrace the amnesty President Umaru Yar’Adua has offered militants and it covers militants in the entire region. Anybody telling you any other thing to the contrary is not telling you the truth. Publish it, say that I, Boyloaf said so.”
The plan to surrender is not a unanimous decision by all rebel factions. This according to experts and observers, is because MEND was left out of every monetary gain and decisions made by Ijaw Youth Leadership Forum and the Federated Niger-Delta Ijaw Communities when they attacked an oil tanker and kidnapped foreign expatriates last month.
However, the Ijaw Youth Leadership Forum and the Federated Niger-Delta Ijaw Communities in the Niger Delta have accused Boyloaf and MEND of trying to put themselves in a good light and portray them as the bad ones.
“Boyloaf is not straightforward, Camp 5 was the first to embrace the Federal Government peace process and he (Boyloaf) was accusing us of selling out. He should not paint us in bad light because he is seeing the need for peace today, which we saw many years ago.” the statement read.
There are reports of a crumbling militant rebellion in the oil-rich region of Nigeria as the Federal government offers amnesty on one hand and wages incessant attacks against rebels on the other hand. Experts have said that the call to surrender is because the Nigerian Joint Task Force (JTF) is closing in on the rebels and breaking their resolve.
But Boyloaf claims this is false: “No, it has nothing to do with the Cordon and Search operation of the JTF. As far as I am concerned, we should accept the amnesty. Some people (othe rebel groups) should not just be using us in the name of Niger-Delta struggle to line their own pockets.The Federal Government said that for it to develop the Niger-Delta it needs peace. We have decided to give them peace and watch and see whether they are ready or not to develop the region.”