Some respite came to the Oil Companies operating in the Niger Delta region from October 27 – November 01, 2013 when ‘Hurricane Exodus’ was downgraded to a gentle breeze as a mark of respect to the late Vice Admiral Mike O. Akhigbe (Rtd) whose flagship finally sunk after a valiant and protracted battle with cancer. The late Vice Admiral Akhigbe (Rtd) was the leader of the disbanded MEND Aaron Team selected and mandated by the group to dialogue on its behalf with the government of the late President Musa Yar’Adua on issues that led to our insurgency before any amnesty could be considered. But they were never given that opportunity after President Goodluck Jonathan became president following the death of President Yar’Adua.
It was unfortunate that President Goodluck Jonathan would throw away an opportunity for long lasting peace through dialogue for a short term retrieve through threats, bribery and force which has only succeeded in buying him some time.
‘Hurricane Exodus’ gathered strength shortly after when it swept through the Okpoloma Gas Plant in Afam, Rivers State, Nigeria on Saturday November 02, 2013, by sabotaging gas supply to the Shell Afam Station whereby disrupting 400MW of electricity supply to the National Grid.
The hostage anxiety involving the kidnap for ransom of two (2) American sailors from the C-Retrieval Oil Supply Vessel, off the coast of Brass, Bayelsa State ended on a happy note with the safe and accelerated release of the hostages as guaranteed by MEND. We urge the governments of South Africa and Nigeria at this time to allow the bud of peace and Security a chance to spout by releasing the Okah brothers and other political hostages being incarcerated with trumped-up charges.
We first broke the news of the hostage release exclusively to Ms Debora Patta, of CBS news who was hesitant to use the information days before it was made public by a US State Department’s Spokeswoman. Following the due process, a ransom of 2Million US Dollars in cash was paid, with a larger percentage of it coming from an embarrassed Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration Agency (NIMASA).
On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF), and a policeman, were killed around the Agip jetty in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State , after trying to intercept MEND fighters on a reconnaissance mission. Contrary to speculations, they were not attempting to carry out a kidnap operation.