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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nigeria: Yar'Adua, Henry Okah Hold Secret Talks

Vanguard (Lagos)

Daniel Idonor

20 October 2009

Henry Okah, former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, yesterday, stormed Aso Rock to hold talks with President Umaru Yar'Adua on the post-amnesty programme.

Also yesterday, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan reaffirmed the Federal Government's commitment to the post-amnesty programme and development of the Niger Delta.

Okah holds talks with Yar'Adua

Okah, who arrived the Presidential Villa in afternoon, according to sources was led straight to the office of the President where he was warmly received by the President before they began their talks.

He was reportedly flown to Abuja from South Africa in a Presidential jet.

It was not however clear whether the emergency meeting was convened in response to fresh threat of attack by MEND.

According to our source, since the start of the amnesty programme, Mr Henry Okah has not been opportuned to meet with the President, "and this might just be one of such meetings because shortly after he was released, he left for South Africa for medical check".

When contacted the Presidential Spokesman, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi confirmed the visit but refused to give details. But, according to him, the meeting went well and it was fruitful, saying that it was part of the confidence building process.

"Yes I am aware that Mr. Henry Okah came to the Villa today (yesterday) on the invitation of the President and they held a very fruitful discussion. The Federal Government has agreed to dialogue with every and any person who can help bring lasting peace to the Niger-Delta", he asserted.

Asked to give detail of the meeting, the Special Adviser said "I cannot give you the details of the discussion but I know that the President is determined to bring development to the Niger-Delta and I am very positive that it will be done"

Vanguard however gathered that Okah told the President that as a patriot, he was ready to do everything to ensure the success of the amnesty programme. He, however, insisted that he is not a negotiator for the region and that the right leaders should be approached to ensure lasting peace in the region.

VP assures on post-amnesty plans

While receiving the Ogbia Brotherhood, a socio-cultural organisation from Ogbia kingdom of Bayelsa State, Vice President said President Yar'Adua has demonstrated tremendous seriousness and sincerity in carrying out the amnesty programme.

According to him, Government has lined up various post-amnesty programmes that would enhance the development of the Niger Delta and urged the people to cooperate with the administration to achieve its developmental plans for the region.

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