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Published On: Sun, Feb 3rd, 2013

Henry Okah never fought for N/Delta —Edwin Clark ……Says Okah was an arms dealer

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(L-R) E K Clark and Henry Okah

LEADER of the Ijaw nationality and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has taken a swipe at convicted coordinator of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, declaring that the Niger Delta militant did not, in actual fact, fight for the welfare of the oil-rich region.
Chief Clark, who stated this in an exclusive interview with Sunday Tribune, added that Mr Okah was only an arms trader who helped to fuel the crisis in the Niger Delta with a view to increasing his volume of business.

Okah was convicted on Monday, 21 January, by a Johannesburg, South African court over his masterminding of the 1 October 2010 twin car bombing that rocked Nigeria’s independence anniversary in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja and claimed 12 lives.
It was upon his conviction that a purported faction of MEND protested and threatened fresh round of attacks in the country to register its rejection of the life jail conviction handed down to Okah.
But the frontline Ijaw leader, Clark, while reacting to this pooh-poohed the threats, saying MEND, as it used to be known in those days, was no more in the Niger Delta and that it would never rear its head again.
“MEND, as far as I am concerned, no longer exists in the form it existed years ago. Henry Okah was leading MEND only based on his interest in the supply of guns. But the real fighters were Tompolo and Ateke Tom.
“There was no time Henry Okah was fighting for the interest of the Ijaw people or the people in the coastal areas of this country. He was causing these wars in order to sell his arms and ammunition. He was a merchant. That is the problem.
“When you talk about Jomo Gbomo, he is no different from Henry Okah. He is also facing trial in Abuja. You know he is Henry Okah’s junior brother,” he said.
Clark, who has been leading leaders of thought across the Southern part of the country to meetings where the unity of the South are being discussed, added that the people of the Niger Delta would not allow MEND to return to the ravaged region.
“So, I can tell you that there is no MEND in the sense that we used to hear it. It does not exist anymore and we will not allow it to exist again,” Clark said.
While also explaining activities of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly, the Ijaw leader told Sunday Tribune that the group’s main aim was to build a united Nigeria, where all components would be equal.
“We want a united Nigeria where no one section of the country would say it is greater than the rest and where no one would be oppressed. If we are more united from the South, the Northerners, who have 19 states, would respect us. The North has always been together and I am happy that we are also grouping to be more united so that we can strengthen Nigeria,” he said.

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