In a statement released on Sunday by former president Goodluck Jonathan in response to an allegation by a Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) splinter group called Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), Jonathan had claimed that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a former militant group has been contracted to assassinate him.
However, MEND, in a statement on Tuesday has claimed that Jonathan was sponsoring the NDA to destabilise the government of his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the statement made available by Newyork based online news platform, Sahara Reporters, MEND had the following to say;
MEND cannot hold brief for the RNDA, which pointedly accused Mr. Jonathan of complicity in fueling the ongoing Niger Delta crisis and patronising the NDA, apparently for political reasons.
“We are, however, quick to point out the fact that the RNDA has merely vindicated MEND’s belief and conviction that the former President and his cronies, who lost the 2015 presidential election, were using the illegal and treasonable NDA platform to destabilise President Buhari’s government.”
The group faulted the former president as being for failing to develop the Niger Delta while in office and that the current problems in the region are his doings not the present President Buhari led government;
“Indeed, the problem in the Niger Delta today has nothing to do with the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Far from it! The problem is simply the failure of Mr. Jonathan to address the root issues confronting the region when he was at the helms of affairs.
”Even though he was from the impoverished region and had, by his own admission in numerous electioneering campaigns, experienced the utter poverty and abject neglect of the region foisted by successive Nigerian governments and the international oil companies since the discovery of oil in 1958 at Oloibiri (a few metres away from his native Otuoke) in Bayelsa State, Mr. Jonathan disappointingly frittered away the opportunity to rescue his people when the Nigerian Presidency fortuitously landed on his laps, virtually on a platter of gold.
“For six whole years, Mr. Jonathan was busy drinking, making merry and generally chasing shadows at the State House. Such a fellow deserves to be ostracised from the assembly of reasonable men; because the Nigerian Presidency might never come back to the Niger Delta region as cheap as it came to Mr. Jonathan; perhaps, in the next 100 years.
“Lest we forget, MEND was at the forefront of the armed struggle back in 2006/2007 which forced the then Government of President Olusegun Obasanjo to consider the option of drafting an Ijaw into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. That was how the perpetually timid and naïve Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan became Vice-President and later, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. When he assumed the reins as President, he did the unthinkable; he tracked down perceived MEND leaders and promptly got them imprisoned on a trumped-up charge of attempt to assassinate him.
“Up until today, Mr. Jonathan is still suffering from an assassination paranoia complex.
The group added that a substantial portion of Jonathan’s statement, “unfortunately, dwelt on judicial matters which are pending in various courts in Nigeria and South Africa.”