NIGERIA may have started moving dangerously into a theatre of war following resolve by the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) to start avenging the killing of Christians in Northern Nigeria by members of the Islamic group, Boko Haram.
MEND said it was prepared to launch a crusade in this regard code named “Operation Barbarosa which it said would involve the bombings of mosques, hajj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations of islamic events and assassination of clerics who have been propagating the doctrines of hate in Nigeria.
Boko Haram for the past one year has been terrorising the Northern and Middle Belt areas of Nigeria on what members termed a jihad to Islamise the entire north, while targeting christians and churches, mainly in a series of attacks.
In a strongly worded press statement signed by Jomo Gbomo, MEND said it would launch an offensive on Islamic installations in Nigeria until the genuine Boko Haram leaders resolve to stop the attacks on Christians in the country.
MEND also said that it would not stop the deadly crusade until its leader, Henry Okah currently serving jail term in South Africa and leading Christian leaders in Nigeria ask it to stop.
The statement reads, “On behalf of the hapless Christian population in Nigeria, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), will from Friday, May 31, 2013, embark on a crusade to save Christianity in Nigeria from annihilation.
“The bombings of mosques, Hajj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations in islamic events and assassinations of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate, will form the core mission of this crusade codenamed “Operation Barbarossa”.
“This campaign will not in any way interfere with the ongoing “Hurricane Exodus” – which on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at about 01:00 Hrs, swept through the Ewellesuo comminity, Nembe, Bayelsa State, leaving the destruction of well 62, belonging to Shell Petroleum in its wake.
“We may only consider a ceasefire of “Operation Barbarossa” if the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Catholic Church and Henry Okah, one of the few leaders in the Niger Delta region we respect for his integrity, intervenes.
“Also the assurance for a cessation of hostilities targeted at Christians in their places of worship, made privately or publicly by the real Boko Haram leadership will make us call off this crusade.
“We have no problems with their attacks on security agencies including the prisons, for their role in extra judicial killings, torture, deceit and corruption.”
Police reassure public of adequate security
The Police high Command on Sunday reassured the members of the Public adequate security for lives and property nationwide following the threat by the MEND to start attacking mosques and other Islamic installations in the Country.
Reacting to the threat of the militia group last night in Abuja, the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba declared the Police were studying the situation and were battle ready to counter any such attempt in any part of the country.
According to Mr Mba”we are studying the threat and monitoring relevant security indices very closely.But Nigerians should be reassured that the Nigeria Police is working in partnership with other agencies and will do everything legally permissible to protect Nigeria, its infrastructure and common wealth.”
MEND no longer exists —JTF
The Joint Task Force (JTF) has urged the people in the Niger Delta and indeed all Nigerians not to panic over the threat by the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) as the group no longer exists.
JTF in a statement issued by its spokesman and media coordinator, Lt Col Onyema Nwachukwu, said those attempting to christen themselves as MEND are impostors.
The statement reads: “First, it must be made clear that the authentic MEND as we all know went into extinction since the emergence of the Niger Delta and the freedom fighters from the dark days of turbulence in the region and quite a good number of them are partnering with their various states and communities for development.
“Those attempting to christen themselves MEND today are impostors and a bundle of “never do wells” who want to be accorded undue recognition at the ex pence of the peace currently savoured in the Niger Delta. The lack of focus and genuineness of intention of this gang seeking to hide under the name of MEND is apparent in its statements.
“As it continues to contradict itself, you recall that it had earlier claimed to be acting under the directives of Henry Okah and now it refers to the same person as just one of the respected leaders of the Niger Delta.
Now they are seeking sympathy and acceptance of the public by claiming to want to avenge christians. Niger Deltans should be not deceived by the tricks of the devil.
Lawlessness is never a solution. Obviously their aim is to engender panic and a sense of insecurity in the region using MEND’s name, but we assure them that their cup is full and will soon be caught up with by the law.
“We urge all community leaders, opinion leaders and all peace loving Niger Deltans not to panic but rather firmly dissociate themselves from these criminals and to collaborate with the JTF and other security agencies in ensuring that we rid our society of them.
“The claim by those criminals of blowing up a well head is false as our troops on patrol along Nembe Creek 1 Flow Station have earlier reported an incident of oil spill on water around Owelesu Community in Nembe resulting from the activities of oil thieves and a joint patrol team comprising of JTF troops and NN personnel was able to trace the spillage.
“The troops observed a fresh dug out possibly for laying illegal pipeline and fresh foot prints which were traced to a small camp. Items such as hacksaw for cutting pipeline, 3 shovels, food items, cooking pots, sleeping mat, foot wears, bags of pure water and clothes were found in the camp.
JD: This is very worrying.should this threat be carried out Nigeria might be inching slowly to civil unrest that could result in a full scale civil war. The police insistence that there is no Mend is begging the issue.Wether its mend,fend or lend,there is a group out there that is unleashing terror on the country and the situation has to be addresed.How all this is falling into place beats ones imagination.Is it all planned?If it is by who?I must say that for a security network that parades two different set of suspects in a murder case,our confidence in their ability to resolve the crisis is seriously waned.Isay we should all have a plan B