Tuesday, May 09, 2006

MEND can be reasoned with

Despite the ease with which one might assign the moniker "terrorist" to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, their decision to call a 3-month cease fire in the hopes that the Nigerian government might actually have their best interests in mind, shows at the very least that they can be reasoned with.

ReliefWeb has the story. Quote:

Reje, who signed the statement on behalf of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), said the group had decided to give the government a chance to prove its commitment to peace and development in the region.

Reje said the MEND's decision to ceasefire for three months was not out of fear or cowardice, but to show its resolve to make things better for the region and its people.

According to the statement, the group has conveyed its ceasefire decision to the Rivers state government and the state government officials will meet with MEND leaders on Tuesday.

Given the current state of global oil markets, there is now a very strong incentive for partners of the Nigerian government to encourage them to enact those reforms -- including improvements to infrastructure (such as roads, for goodness' sake!); revenue sharing for residents of the delta States, out of which they would pay a tax to the Federal Government; and redress for decades of environmental damage.

Royal Dutch Shell, the UK government, the US government, and now China, not to mention the rest of the world, are all dependent on stability in Nigeria's output ($20 of the $70-75 we pay per barrel of crude is a risk premium, according to James Mulva, CEO of Conoco-Phillips). Before the Iraq War, Persian Gulf members of OPEC could loosen a tightened market, but no more. We now have a financial incentive to take international development seriously.

And, please, don't call MEND terrorists.

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