There was concern in military circles in the Niger Delta yesterday about the planned meeting of leaders of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
The meeting, slated for Izon House in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, is being convened by MEND leader Government Ekpemupolo.
A terse invitation, a copy of which was made available to our reporter, reads: “My dearly beloved commanders and leaders of various wings of the Movement of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta(MEND), I greet you all.
“It is my pleasure to humbly invite you to a crucial and urgent meeting as follows: Venue: Izon House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
“Date (of the meeting is) Saturday, July 25, 2015. Time (is) 2pm Prompt.”
The letter was initiated with Tompolo’s traditional title – Izon Ibe-Ebidouwei.
Tompolo said the meeting would to deliberate on recent developments in Nigeria and the fate of the Niger Delta in the political dispensation.
Speaking through his media aide, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo, he said the MEND leaders would chart a path for the progress of the region.
However, The Nation gathered that the planned meeting is a source of concern for top military commanders in the region.
Tompolo, a known supporter of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was the founder of the deadly group that crippled oil production in the region from 2005.
It was gathered that he was placed under security watch following the defeat of Jonathan in the March 28 presidential election.
The former militant leader has maintained a low profile since after the election and subsequent inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29.
Also, Tompolo’s Ijaw kinsmen from the key oil producing areas of Delta state have given the Delta State government ultimatum on the controversial state Oil Producing Areas Commission amendment law.
Military authorities say that the conventing of MEND leaders at about the same time Gbaramatu and other Ijaw youths in Delta are spoiling for war with the state governor was troubling.
An ultimatum by youth leaders from Gbaramatu, Ogulagha, Ogbe-Ijoh, Egbema, Diebiri among others expires on Sunday night.
The youth leaders under the umbrella of Flow Station/Well Head Host Ijaw Communities of Delta State are determined in their protests against the Amendment Bill before the House of Assembly.
The Bill is the handiwork of Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa. Yesterday, they issued a fresh warning calling on the governor to see reason with the people and withdraw the document.
Spokesman of the communities Comrade Sheriff Mulade spoke of the health challenges and deprivation bedeviling the people in the communities hosting oil and gas facilities, stating that derivation was the only way to lessen their plight,
He said: ‘’Derivation as it were is simply a principle of giving back to the source of revenue generated through natural resources and it is a compensation for the loss of fishing and farming rights, health challenges and environmental degradation caused by oil exploration and production activities in our communities. Oil and gas are not produced by ethnic groups but are produced by communities which are clearly known and which bears the brunt of oil exploration and production activities.
‘’The negative effect of this arrangement is that politicians who are not from oil bearing communities would be the ones to determine the direction of the commission to the detriment of the oil and gas producing communities.’’


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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