by Ezinne Ajoku
The Niger-Delta Avengers are a new group of “worthy outlaws” who sprung onto the scene early this year. They have been fingered for oil pipelines busts and attacks on other economic assets in the area since the year began. They are PMB’s other major pain in the neck.
Lately, a splinter group from the original Avengers which calls itself Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, have accused certain members of the political class of sponsoring their militant activities.
A few of the alleged named sponsors are Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Seriaki Dickson of Bayelsa. Former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Akwa Ibom Governor now Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, Raymond Dokpesi, the founder of Africa Independent Television(AIT), Former presidential godfather, Chief Edwin Clark, Ex-militant turned contractor, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo and Immediate past Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku are also on the list.
Jonathan, Dokpesi, Kuku, Senator Akpabio and Tompolo, amongst others have all issued official statements, condemning attempts to link them with the Avengers.
Spouting outrage, Kuku claims that, “This is yet another attempt to discredit my hard-earned reputation and defame my person after the earlier plot to rope me with terrorism by another fictitious Kano-based group, National Security Watchdog. If that attempt failed, this too has surely fallen flat.”
Senator Akpabio described the publication as, “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.”
Dokpesi called it a “blatant concoction of falsehood obviously laced with the political intention of throwing a spanner in the works of our nation wide campaign/consultation with PDP delegates throughout the country in our bid to contest the National Chairmanship of the PDP.
Governor Wike’s media team also unequivocally denied what it termed a “false report which was fabricated with the aim of diverting attention from the superlative performance of Governor Wike.”
Even Tompolo through his spokesman, Paul Bebenimibo, described the report linking him to the group as ‘voodoo’.
Everybody seems intent on washing their hands off this alleged sponsorship affair. It can be posited that no one is jumping for joy that their names are linked to this militant group because it can easily be a damning of their political careers.
Take Senator Akpabio, who is still trying to free himself from the clutches of EFFC. Proof that he really is behind the wanton acts of the avengers will destroy him. Same for Governor Wike whose performance in governance has won him notable mention and an award in the UK. As for former president Jonathan, all the warm, fuzzy feelings we have when we think about how he conceded defeat to PMB will disappear. End. Finish.
I’m not sure what this mention does for Tompolo, though. Isn’t this supposed to be like another notch in his belt? Just wondering, seriously.
Well, beyond the obvious reason, it is important to state that these acts of militancy are actually acts of terrorism as defined in chapter 6 of the Terrorism Prevention Act (2013).
So found to actually be linked to the Avengers is not on the level of mere social media “shading”. It will amount to political assassination.
And maybe, jail time some time in the future.