V Congresso Nazionale di Senza Bavaglio - Alba2008
29 Maggio - 1° Giugno 2008
Il video dell'intervista
Senza Bavaglio:For those members of our audience NOT familiar with your
Movement, please explain BRIEFLY the history and goals of your organization?
MEND: The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is a
byproduct of injustice spanning five decades in the Niger Delta. As the
name connotes, we are fighting for the emancipation of the people by way
of ensuring that we control 100% of our resources and pay a tax to the
central government. With more stake in our resources, the oil majors
will be respectful of our environment and people. MEND was founded
around the end of 2005.
SB: Please tell us the current status of your efforts to seek
dialogue or negotiations with the Government of Nigeria and if the
government refuses to speak with you, what is the reason why?
MEND: The government is talking to several interest groups as well as
certain militant factions for over a year now and the result is clear
for the world to judge. Failure! We have said that the government must
talk one-on-one with Henry Okah to resolve this problem. He holds the
key. Yes he might not accept bribes- the governments choice of
negotiations and yes he will not compromise on the root issues to be
addressed, but he is honest and frank to achieve a lasting solution.
SB:Most Oil Companies have virtually unlimited resources to
secure kidnap insurance for their employees. With that in mind, do you
believe that kidnapping either oil workers or others is a realistic
means to achieve your goals and do you understand the negative effect
this policy may have in the COURT OF WORLD OPINION?
MEND: Kidnapping for ransome is something we do not go into. We however
support kidnapping to focus attention on our plight. There is so much
distractions in the world so it is important to have something people
can always want to relate with such as hostages. In war all is fair.
SB: Peaceful civil disobedience and protest have historically
worked in many countries around the world. The efforts by Ghandi in
India or Martin Luther King in the United States are two examples. Why
do you believe this form of protest is impossible or worthless to follow
in Nigeria or Africa in general?
MEND: In Nigeria's Niger Delta, peaceful approach by Saro Wiwa did not
work. Decades of speeches and resolutions did not work. When something
is not working it only makes sense to change your tactics. Armed
struggle is the language that most Africans understand. It makes people
react faster. Even von Bismarck suggested it as well as Ireland. The
sword and the pen should work in tandem.
SB:Please give us your CANDID AND HONEST OPINION about coverage
you have received by the media...both in Nigeria and abroad.
MEND:We have received good coverage both local and international because
oil is involved. We try not terrorize to get headlines but maintain a
balance. Unfortunately, criminal elements which also happen to be inside
the Nigerian military is giving the campaign a bad name. In the past few
weeks however, the demand for oil is making more people aware of the
issues and coverage has been fair.
SB:And finally, what is your favourite brand of gasoline when
you fill up at the pump and do you pay with CASH or CREDIT CARD?
MEND:I pay cash as almost everyone does in Nigeria and take whatever is
available at the pump. In Nigeria we do not have choices. I am aware
though that the actions we take reflect on the pump prices, but that is
a small sacrifice consumers are paying for justice to be effected.
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