World Bulletin / News Desk
In a statement, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) -- an influential militant group -- said Buhari’s “arrogant” posturing had affected the region and blamed him for failing to honor previous agreements.
“Prior to and after his reluctant meeting with traditional rulers, opinion leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta region under the auspices of Pan Niger Delta Forum [PANDEF] on Nov. 1, 2016, Buhari has been carrying on arrogantly and making controversial, prejudicial, conflicting and contradictory statements about the politics and economy of the oil-rich region,” the statement quoting a spokesman for the movement, Jomo Gbomo, said.
“Without prejudice to the pre-2015 presidential election endorsement freely and voluntarily given to Buhari on Jan. 6, 2015, MEND hereby categorically and unequivocally passes a vote of no confidence on the government of President Buhari,” Gbomo added.
The group accused the president of “blackmailing” leaders from the region over the peace talks and accused the administration of not forming its own team to interact with stakeholders from the oil-rich region.
It also accused the president of reneging on his pledge to facilitate the release of all political prisoners connected to the agitation in the region, while also allegedly sanctioning the arrest of top militants.
The presidency has not reacted to the development yet which threatens the fragile peace in the area.
MEND, whose leaders Henry Okah and others are standing trial for alleged bombings of government infrastructure, has been said to be a key ally of Buhari from the region. Former President Goodluck Jonathan also hails from the region.
The movement has been blamed for bombing key oil infrastructure in the region between 2005 and early 2007.
A faction of the group later accepted the amnesty deal of the late President, Umaru Yar’Adua. Under the deal, the militants were expected to drop their arms in exchange for packages that include training, monthly payouts, commitment to fast-track development in the region and address environmental issues arising from oil exploration.