Leaders and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region have warned against an alleged plot to blackmail and discredit the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Babagana Monguno (rtd), as various interest groups jostle for the position of coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
These leaders gave the warning under the auspices of Forum of Progressive Niger Delta Leaders (FPNDL) amid an emerging trend of unsubstantiated reports on social media alleging corruption against Monguno and the caretaker committee constituted by the federal government to manage the Amnesty programme, following the suspension of its coordinator, Prof. Charles Dokubo.
In a statement at the weekend signed by President and Secretary of the group, Chief Akpakpakiri Amakamu and Chief Kpokoye Morris respectively, the FPNDL said recent negative reports targeted at the NSA and the Amnesty Programme caretaker committee has become worrisome.
Part of the statement read: “We are specifically dismayed at a recent report published on an apparently cloned news website, TheNationsonline.com, in which it was alleged that while in office, Dokubo awarded and paid unexecuted contracts worth N1.8billion to cronies of the NSA. This was followed barely a week later with another post on twitter by the publisher of PointBlankNews, Mr. Jackson Ude, that one Hassan purported to be the private secretary to Dokubo collected over N1.8billion contract on behalf of the NSA which was not executed but paid for.
“While we are not spokespersons to the NSA or the Amnesty Programme caretaker committee, we however deem it expedient for us as stakeholders and community leaders to rise up against activities that are detrimental to the development and peace in the Niger Delta. Allegations such as these are indeed grave, necessitating our resolve to conduct checks.
“Unfortunately, our findings indicated that the allegation is barefaced falsehood maliciously concocted and sponsored by ambitious and unpatriotic individuals with an eye on the office of coordinator of Amnesty Programme, and their collaborators. Obviously, the objective for this dangerous effort is to malign the NSA and discredit the caretaker committee, with the hope that it would be disbanded by the presidency and a new coordinator appointed for the Amnesty Programme. This is not minding the fact that the committee is doing a good job; scrutinising the books and processes with a view to setting the programme on a solid foundation.”
The FPNDL noted that peddling unfounded allegations against high-ranking government officials and respected individuals is criminal, counter-productive and portrays the Niger Delta people in bad light.