• Avengers splits into two
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt, Sylvester Idowu in Warri and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio and former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh have denied allegations of involvement promoting militancy in the Niger Delta.
Their denials came on the heels of a report by an online news medium, that a splinter group of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), which goes by the name Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), had alleged that some chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including Jonathan, Akpabio and others were sponsors of the group.
Wike also accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of being responsible for the allegations that he has links to the NDA.
A statement issued yesterday by the media aide to Jonathan, Ikechukwu Eze, said the former president’s attention had been drawn to “a malicious claim by a shadowy group which calls itself the RNDA to the effect that many notable Ijaw and other Niger Delta leaders and elders, especially those perceived not to be too close to the powers that be, are the alleged sponsors of the current crises in the Niger Delta.”
Eze said: “For the avoidance of doubt, we are fully convinced that such an idiotic claim is too cheap a narrative, a facile contrivance so badly concocted that any discerning mind would easily see through its disingenuous and duplicitous nature.”
He said while the former president was not bothered by the baseless accusation because of “Jonathan’s widely-acknowledged sincere disposition to peace, non-violence and the betterment of the human community, he was disturbed by the re-appearance of ‘Cynthia White’, who had in the past served as the spokesperson for a notorious group that had all along shown its hand to be going after the life of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.”
Similarly, Wike, has said he was not linked to the NDA) or any militant group.
A statement issued by his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, accused the APC of being responsible for the “false propaganda”.
“We unequivocally deny this false report fabricated by online medium with the aim of diverting attention from the superlative performance of Wike,” he said.
In his statement, Akpabio also denied being the sponsor of the militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, or any other militant group for that matter.
But a press release by his media aide, Mr. Anietie Ekong described the publication as “baseless, reckless and senseless. It is a fabrication from the pit of hell from those who are profiteering from the crisis in the Niger Delta and would wish no end to it.”
According to the statement, “For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that Akpabio has no link with the NDA or any other militant group for that matter.
Also in a statement issued yesterday by Metuh, the embattled ex-spokesman of the main opposition party denied having any relationship or association whatsoever, either as a sympathiser or sponsor of any militant group, including the Avengers.
Meanwhile, it emerged at the weekend that there is a crack in the ranks of NDA.
This came to the fore, when RNDA renounced its membership of the Avengers and embraced dialogue. It also promised to expose other members of the group and their sponsors.
THISDAY gathered that the splinter group was dissatisfied with the hardline posture of the major commanders of the Avengers towards opening dialogues with the federal government in order to arrive at a lasting solution to the problems of the region.
Cynthia Whyte had said in a statement that some members of the NDA had renounced violence in their agitation for the underdevelopment of the region and were denouncing their membership of the main group.
However, the Niger Delta Avengers denied the split in a statement issued Saturday night, maintaining that “its household is still intact”.
The statement signed by the spokesman of the NDA, Mudoch Agbinibo, said the purported split was in the imagination of government agents and agencies with a “delusional disorder.”
“The thinking to lure the public to another lie of a split in the Niger Delta Avengers are only the ways of a government agents and agencies with a delusional disorder.
“This is a result of a government and security agencies that are only becoming childish everyday for engaging drug addicts, bank robbers, sea pirates, falling political angels, and charlatans to undo the Niger Delta people and our genuine desire to self determination and resource control,” it said.
NDA said further: “The public and all sane minds should know that the entire household of the NDA remains intact, we are in good spirit with highest morals and even more dedicated target.
“We are not like the present Nigeria government, military and security agencies that have thrown intelligence to the dustbin and are being pushed around by dirty morals and egos of political thugs, criminals and illegal crude oil bunkerers like Boyloaf, Timipre Silva, Ayiri Emami and their main collaborator Mr. Lawal Daura (DG DSS).
“It is quite unfortunate that, Cynthia Whyte and Jomo Gbomo of defunct Joint Revolutionary Council and MEND respectively are the spokesperson of the Nigerian intelligentsia community because of some political interest and a government that has abdicated powers to clansmen and tribal lords.
“The fact checks about Cynthia Whyte, AKA George Karley, and his sponsors should be laid bare before the public now that the Nigerian security and intelligent community has turned the Niger Delta genuine struggle to a tool of political patronage and money making machines for miscreants and conflict merchants.”
The group alleged that the name Cynthia Whyte was the negotiating organ for Mr. Victor Ebikabowei Ben (Boyloaf), Former governor Timipre Silva and Sele Ebikabowei, for kidnappings, bank robberies, illegal crude oil bunkering and other dirty jobs for government.
“Like sending Sele Ebikabowei to South Africa to testify against Henry Okah, and back at home against Charles Okah and Edmund Ebiwari, after collecting huge bribes.
“Conclusively, it is the house of the Nigeria security and intelligentsia community that is split and giving room to miscreants to speak for them as President Muhammadu Buhari abdicates governance to his kinsmen and tribal lords.
“We warned the world and Nigerians earlier, especially Odein Ajumogobia, Judith Asuni and HRM, Majesty King Alfred Diette Spiff, to think before they leaped in with characters using a compromised platform called MEND that is sold and bought up by special interests of the Nigerian security agencies that are working for this APC government of lies and deceits,” it stated.