The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has called on the Federal Government to release the Okah brothers, Charles and Henry.
The duo are currently in jail following allegations that they were involved in the Independence Day bombing on October, 2010.
MEND said the release of the brothers, who are also leaders of the militant group, is crucial to the return of peace in the Niger Delta.
They also said if Senator Ali Ndume, who was accused of sponsoring Boko Haram can be allowed to walk freely, the Okahs should be released.
The militant group said “Your Excellency, the MEND Aaron Team 2 Dialogue and Peace Initiative would not have materialized if not for the tireless work and support of the Okah brothers – Henry and Charles who are currently in prisons in South Africa and Nigeria, respectively. It is our humble submission that the release of the Okah brothers is a crucial factor in the peaceful resolution of the Niger Delta crisis.”
The militant group also asked the Federal Government to suspend ex-militant leader, Tompolo’s case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
They also added that “If Senator Ali Ndume, who is still facing terror charge of sponsoring Boko Haram can be granted bail by the Judiciary and thereby permitted to participate in nation-building at one of the highest levels as Majority Leader of the Senate then, we see no reason the Okah brothers who have enormous capacity to help government bring the Niger Delta crisis to an end are still held in prison.
“Sir, cases abound in history where prisoners were released from prison to help save the nation in times of crises. Examples include the likes of the Hebrew slave Joseph who was released from prison to help save ancient Egypt from famine.
“Nelson Mandela was also released from prison in 1990 to help restore multi- racial democracy in South Africa in 1994. We, therefore , urge the release of Messrs Henry and Charles Okah similarly as former President Olusegun Obasanjo was released from prison to become President and help to nurture the then nascent democracy in 1999.”
Militant groups in the Niger Delta have distanced themselves from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) following its confirmation that it is holding talks with the Federal Government.
MEND on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, described the statement by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai that kinetic force will be used on the Niger Delta militants if dialogue fails, as insensitive, provocative, unprofessional and prejudicial to the fair outcome of the ongoing preliminary talks.