Jonathan, Wike, Akpabio, Metuh deny link with Avengers

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has dissociated himself from Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and described as a total falsehood, an allegation that he is one of the sponsors of the militant group.

The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Goodswill Akpabio also denied having link with the Avengers, saying the media propaganda was baseless.

Akpabio, in a statement by his media aide, Anietie Ekong, said, “this politically motivated media propaganda is 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.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that Senator Akpabio has no link with the Niger Delta Avengers or any other militant group for that matter.

“Contrarily, the position of Senator Akpabio as a foremost advocate of dialogue in resolving the Niger Delta crisis is well known. He is of the strong belief that blowing up pipelines and causing further environmental pollution of the Niger Delta is not in the interest of the region as it would take over 100 years to remediate the effects of such environmental degradation.

Also, the immediate past national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has regarded as devilish, the claim linking him to the sponsorship of the Avengers.

The governor, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, on Sunday, by his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, said his alleged link with NDA was “yet another false media propaganda being circulated by the paid official false agents of the APC.

“We unequivocally deny this false report fabricated with the aim of diverting attention from the performance of Governor Nyesom Wike.

“This falsehood may not be unconnected with Governor Wike’s  speech at the just-concluded conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, (held in Port Harcourt from last Thursday to Saturday) where he publicly declared that he and other stakeholders in the state had prevented militant groups from sabotaging oil installations (in Rivers State) as is the case elsewhere.

“Governor Wike is a patriotic leader, committed to the sustenance and  improvement of the nation’s  democracy and economy. He is a promoter of security and good governance. He cannot be disparaged by concocted publications from APC  media agents.

Similarly, former President Jonathan had denied the allegation, as he was reported to have said he had no hand in the orgy of violence being perpetrated by militant groups in the Niger Delta.

According to SaharaReporters, a source close to the former president had said there was “no iota of truth to the claim that former President Goodluck Jonathan has a hand in the violence in the Niger Delta.

“If former President Jonathan wanted chaos in Nigeria and the Niger Delta, he would have refused to concede the election to General Muhammadu Buhari and the APC,” the source was quoted to have said, adding that Jonathan was considering issuing a formal statement to dismiss the claims made by the RNDA spokesperson.

Metuh, in a statement issued in Abuja, on Sunday, also said the claim was false and misleading.

“Ordinarily, I would not have responded to this, given that I have since chosen to conduct my affairs with the decency and comportment of someone involved in a well-celebrated trial and with a severe spinal problem.

I am also not unaware of the series of false reports against my person in the past few months. However, on this occasion, I have chosen to respond, as this particularly borders on matters affecting national security.

“Indeed, I believe this is a wicked, cruel and devilish plot to link me with such activities and at this very time, especially as the claim is outright false.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I hereby state categorically that I do not have any relationship or association whatsoever either as a sympathiser or sponsor of any militant group, including the Avengers.

“I, therefore, find it very cruel that any person would, in any manner whatsoever, attempt to associate my name with anything to do with this group or its operations and I still wonder what the motive behind this sinister plot is,” the statement read.

The allegation was made in a statement issued by a group reported to have split from the NDA and signed by one Cynthia Whyte.

It also named other prominent sons of the Niger Delta, including former President Jonathan, as being behind the NDA.

A breakaway faction of the group, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) had, last Friday, threatened to reveal the major financiers of NDA, should the group fail to desist from further bombing of oil pipeline facilities.