The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) resurfaced on Wednesday and commended the United States government for allegedly exposing the Chairman of Peace Airlines,Allen Onyema, former Chairman of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, Ejiroghene Eghagha and the region’s amnesty fraud.
The MEND in a statement issued by Jomo Gbomo, said: “The Niger Delta amnesty program which MEND was vehemently opposed to from day one, was built on a fraudulent foundation from inception, starting with the grossly exaggerated figure of militants put at 30,000, a figure that was a key element in perpetuating the fraud which has continued up until this very day.
“This was followed by over-invoicing of inflated overseas training programs as a way of transferring excess money through legitimate bank transactions. In fact, 99 percent of the beneficiaries from the padded training programs had nothing to do with militancy.
“The administration of Goodluck Jonathan, aware of the fraud, were more interested in giving the semblance of peace in the Niger Delta rather than addressing the root issues for which we took up arms. Issues in the mutilated constitution and the need for dialogue before disarmament were completely ignored.
“Authentic freedom fighters like the Okah brothers, Henry and Charles, who insisted on the right steps to be taken and who opposed the glaring amnesty fraud were labelled uncooperative, framed on trumped up charges and jailed.
“MEND carried out the October 1, 2010 Independence day twin bombings in Abuja in protest of the amnesty fraud which Goodluck Jonathan was comfortable with as long as it guaranteed his presidency.
“Kingsley Kuku, the then Special Adviser on the Niger Delta Amnesty Program, Allen Onyema and Ejiroghene Eghagha are key figures in the monumental fraud, which shortchanged the region and insulted those who paid the ultimate price for a better Niger Delta region.
“But there are several others down the chain such as Senators and members of the House of Representatives (who received kickbacks, well aware that the budget for the Amnesty Office was heavily padded), as well as ex- militant commanders, who knew fully well that the number of militants in the entire region could not have been more than 2,000 and the excess figure of 28,000 put out were ghosts, but conspired to keep silent.
“We know this as a fact and when compared to the number of weapons that were submitted, would it have meant that 28,000 men were fighting with sticks and oars?
“It is a shame and indictment on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) that they had to wait until Allen Onyema… was exposed by the FBI before speaking out.”