Who are the sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militants blowing up oil installations and facilities in Niger Delta? The sponsors’ identities remained shrouded in secrecy yesterday as those linked to the group denied having anything to do with it.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) dismissed claim that they were behind NDA.
In a statement by his spokesman Simeon Nwakandu, Wike described his link to the group as “false media propaganda.”
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to yet another false media propaganda wherein it was claimed that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is one of the sponsors of the militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers. We unequivocally deny this false report which was fabricated with the aim of diverting attention from the superlative performance of Governor Wike.
“Any close observer of this propaganda machine would have noticed that all they do is concoct lies about Rivers State. We urge all well-meaning persons to disregard this current falsehood credited to a faceless splinter group of NDA .
“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.
”Nigerians already know what these propagandists represent. They represent retrogression , deliberate falsehood, under-development and biased unprofessional journalism.
”Governor Nyesom Ezenwo 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.”
IYC Worldwide President 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 maintain his stand because of his belief that only dialogue with genuine leaders would solve the problems.
A splinter NDA, the Reform Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) in a statement by its spokesperson, Cynthia Whyte, listed President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Governor Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and other prominent leaders from the region as NDA sponsors.
The statement also claimed that Eradiri was speaking for the group using the pseudo-name ‘Brigadier-General’ Murdoch Agbinibo.
But Eradiri, who spoke in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, said he was not surprised that his name was being dragged in the mud because of his position on the Niger Delta crisis.
He accused the promoters of the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) of blackmailing him for opposing their Aaron Team.
He said: “I have no business whatsoever with the Niger Delta Avengers. I am the President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the largest youth organisation in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and not the spokesman of the Niger Delta Avengers.
“Since the splinter group of the Niger Delta Avengers said they have broken away and repented from their old ways, I call on them to come out in the open and identify themselves openly instead of still using pseudo-names such as Cynthia Whyte to issue statements.
“Any discerning mind would know that the said statement purportedly naming sponsors of Avengers was issued by the promoters of the Aaron 11 MEND negotiation with the federal government.
“Their grouse against me is because I said in my recent interviews that MEND Aaron 11 team does have the mandate of the Ijaw and other Niger Delta people to negotiate with the Federal Government. They are desperate because of the lack of credibility in what they are doing”. The Nation