A gale of denials has flooded the Nigerian media space as the militant group; Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) released a list of those it said were its sponsors and sympathisers.
The group which recently split from Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), another militant organization that has claimed responsibility for bombing oil facilities, in the Niger Delta region in the last few months had made good its threat to name names.
An online news platform, Saharareporters had earlier published a list of names purportedly released by the RNDA, which listed former President Goodluck Jonathan as the grand patron of the NDA.
In the report attributed to a statement issued by Cynthia Whyte, an alias for a male spokesman, the splinter group also named several former and serving governors as sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers. Those named as “sponsors” included Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Seriaki Dickson of Bayelsa.
Mr. Whyte also identified Senator Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, ex-militant, Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), Raymond Dokpesi, the founder Daar Communications, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Kingsley Kuku, Kimi Angozi, and Patrick Akpobolokemi as other sponsors.
The said statement was said to have also revealed that the NDA’s sympathizers included Edwin K. Clark, Tony Uranta, Daniel Alabrah, Ms. Annkio Briggs, and Olisa Metuh, a former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The RNDA were also said to have named Oyege Nimi Brown, VIP Timothy, Joshua Macaiver, Paul Bebenimibo and others as the main operatives of the NDA, adding that Udengs Eradiri, the president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), also known as Brigadier General Murdoch Agbinibo, serves as the NDA’s chief spokesman.
No sooner had the report hit the airwaves, that actors mentioned in the spectacle began to issue statements denying the RNDA, and the NDA, saying they had nothing to do with them.
On his part, former President Jonathan said it was a ploy to assassinate him.
Jonathan, in a statement on Sunday by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, said the list by the splinter group was political, and another attempt by a group, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) to eliminate him.
Read also: Avengers denies splitting into factions
Also, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, who is the Senate Minority Leader denied having link with the militant group.
According to Akpabio, the report as a “politically motivated propaganda.
“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,” Akpabio said through a statement released on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Media, Anietie Ekong.
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike who dismissed claims that he was behind NDA, described it as a “false media propaganda.”
In a statement by his spokesman Simeon Nwakandu, he said, “We unequivocally deny this false report.
“This falsehood may not be unconnected to Governor Wike’s speech at the just-concluded conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors where he publicly declared that he and other stakeholders in the state have prevented militant groups from sabotaging oil installations as is the case elsewhere. Not happy with this declaration, they resolved to concoct another ill-conceived report trying to mislead the people.
An aspirant for the office of National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said he has nothing to do with the NDA or any other militant group, adding, that he remained committed to strengthening the unity and stability of Nigeria.
Also denying any involvement with the militants, the president of the IYC Worldwide, Mr. Udengs Eradiri said as leader of the influential Ijaw socio-cultural group, he was against a violent approach to actualising the Niger Delta struggle.
He said he would continue to maintain his stand because of his belief that only dialogue with genuine leaders would solve the problems.
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