The three groups, Reformed Egbesu Boys, Egbesu Water Lions and Egbesu Mythier Fraternity, issued a joint statement addressed to the minister of state for petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, on Saturday, June 18.
The statement obtained read in part: “We write on behalf of the Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, Egbesu Water Lions and Egbesu Mythier Fraternity to bring to the urgent attention of the federal government that the negotiation with the ‘avengers’ is lopsided.
“It will be recalled that various militant groups make up the Niger Delta Avengers and we were taken aback that the federal government team is negotiating with Gbaramatu kingdom representatives only.
“Be reminded that this current crisis is not a particular ex-militant leader affair and, therefore, Gbaramatu representatives cannot negotiate with the Federal Government to the exclusion of other active participants in the crisis.
“Consequently, we warn that the negotiation team be expanded to include various active group reps that participated in this current crisis. Failure to heed this wise counsel, aggrieved stakeholders will resort to doing what we know best.
“When the need for the cessation of hostilities arose as a result of pleas arising from national and international sources, the Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta were the first to unilaterally declare ceasefire.”
The groups further discredited MEND, stating that they only “existed on newspaper pages and hotel rooms in Abuja.”
“MEND exists only on newspaper pages and hotel rooms in Abuja. We are taken aback that those who collectively destroyed the struggle want to recruit very respected elders for sinister motives.
“If the federal government negotiates with the purported MEND team as published, the consequences would be fatal and devastating to the multinationals as usual. We ceased hostilities in the larger collective interest of the Niger Delta environment, security of the people of the Niger Delta and the economic stability of the Nigerian state and the world at large.
“We wish to warn that the Ijaw nation is and shall not be taken as cannon fodder to the other ethnic nationalities as we are seen to be. We are branded criminals and all sorts of name-calling, but when the Federal Government calls for dialogue, our traditional antagonists and agent provocateurs would be the first to present them for dialogue.”