The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has insisted that former President Goodluck Jonathan is the grand patron of the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
It added that the former president was fuelling militancy in the Niger Delta region.
The Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) had alleged that Jonathan was one of the major sponsors of the NDA, an allegation the former president has vehemently denied.
But MEND yesterday accused the former president of deception, saying his denial was provocative and embarrassingly misconceived.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, MEND said the former president employed diversionary tactics to cover up the accussation against him.
“With all due respect, the entire statement was deeply provocative and embarrassingly misconceived as it woefully failed to address the core issue of whether or not the former president was indeed, the grand patron of the NDA.
“Any follower of events in Nigeria and the Niger Delta who was privileged to read the statement released by Jonathan, would immediately observe that the former president had a score to settle with the Okah brothers as well as MEND who have since May 30, 2014 stopped attacks on Nigeria’s oil and gas assets; and are currently engaged in dialogue with the federal government to find sustainable ways and means of ending the festering Niger Delta crises which was exacerbated by the former President’s ineptitude, incompetence and corruption during the six years he governed the country,” it said.
The group said the problem in the Niger Delta today has nothing to do with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari but the failure of Jonathan to address the root issues confronting the region when he was at the helm of affairs.
It said even though he was from the impoverished region, and had by his own admission in numerous electioneering, experienced the utter poverty and abject neglect of the region foisted by successive Nigerian governments and the International Oil Companies (IOC) since the discovery of oil in 1958 at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State, Jonathan disappointingly frittered away the opportunity to rescue his people when the country’s presidency landed on his laps.
According to MEND, “For six whole years, Jonathan was busy drinking, making merry and generally chasing shadows at the State House. Such a fellow deserves to be ostracised from the assembly of reasonable men; because the Nigerian Presidency might never come back to the region as cheap as it came to Jonathan; perhaps in the next 100 years.
“Lest we forget, MEND was at the forefront of the armed struggle back in 2006-2007 which forced President Olusegun Obasanjo to consider the option of drafting an Ijaw man into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. That was how Jonathan became Vice President and later, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“When he assumed therein as president, he did the unthinkable; he tracked down perceived MEND leaders and promptly got them imprisoned on a trumped-up charge of attempt to assassinate him. Up until today, Jonathan is still suffering from an Assassination Paranoia Complex (APC).
“Secondly, a substantial portion of Jonathan’s statement unfortunately dwelt on judicial matters which are pending in various courts in Nigeria and South Africa. For instance, Henry Okah’s Appeal in South Africa’s Constitutional Court is due for hearing this August; while his brother, Charles’ ongoing trial in Nigeria is pending before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
“The former president’s statement was therefore, contemptuous and prejudicial to the success of the ongoing trials of Henry and Charles Okah in South African and Nigerian courts, respectively. Consequently, both brothers shall, on account of the former president’s prejudicial statement, institute legal action against him in South Africa and Nigeria within 60 days, commencing from today, August 8, 2016.
“Accordingly, they have briefed their respective solicitors to formally engage the former president in litigation.
“Back to the core issue. MEND cannot hold brief for the RNDA who pointedly accused the former president of complicity in fueling the ongoing Niger Delta crisis; and patronisng the NDA, apparently for political reasons. We are however, quick to point out the fact that the RNDA has merely vindicated MEND’s belief and conviction that, the former president and his cronies who lost the 2015 presidential election were using the NDA platform to destabilise President Buhari’s government.
“Finally, MEND is committed to working with the current administration to bring peace, stability and development to the Niger Delta region. The process has since commenced with the constitution of the federal government-MEND Aaron Team 2, Dialogue, Peace and Development Initiative. Between August 22, 2016 and October 7, 2016 the Aaron Team shall embark on a tour of the Niger Delta region.”