•They have politicized the struggle- HRM Ayemi-Botu, Bozimo
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
THAT dog do not eat dog has remained an incontestable aphorism for ages, but lately in the Niger Delta struggle, militants have flawed theorists on the conviction, sensationally demonstrating that dogs, in fact, can eat dogs. Unexpectedly, the Ijaw ethnic nationality and the nation at large have been awestruck since August 6 when a group, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, which claimed to be a breakaway faction of the infamous Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, made a travesty of the adage.
When the group surfaced, August 5, it wore the toga of a guardian angel that renounced a Devil called NDA that refused to heed the appeal for peace by the present government, former President Goodluck Jonathan and other well-meaning Nigerians to halt pipeline bombings in the region.
It also traced its action to NDA’s rebuff to embrace the peace efforts and initiative of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, already in dialogue with the Federal Government on behalf of militants and other stakeholders of the region and its (RNDA) feeling of guilt over the damage wrecked on the environment, among others.
RNDA portrayed the image of remorseful agitators on the same page with Dr. Jonathan, who just visited President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss among other things his faith in the unity of the country against the run of militants to declare a Republic of Niger Delta, but the bombshell that came 24 hours later from the same group befuddled onlookers.
Spokesperson of the group, Cynthia Whyte, a moniker definitely, named Dr. Jonathan, the man it said 24 hours earlier appealed to militants to sheathe their swords, as the grand patron of Niger Delta Avengers. It said Governors Nyemson Wike (Rivers) and Henry Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) were sponsors of the group, including Senator Godswill Akpabio, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Kimi Angozi, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi and Mr. Kingsley Kuku.
The group mentioned Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin K. Clark, Mr. Tony Uranta, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, Ms. Annkio Briggs, Chief Olisa Metuh as sympathizers, while it said the operatives were Mr. Oyege Nimi Brown and others, VIP Timothy and others, Mr. Joshua Macaiver and others, Mr. Paul Bebenimibo and others.
According to the group, Udengs Eradiri, current Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) President, is the spokesperson of the Avengers known as Brigadier General Murdoch Agbinibo.
All the alleged grand patron, patrons, sympathizers and operatives named by the RNDA had denied the allegation. Dr. Jonathan pointed fingers at MEND, specifically the Okah brothers, whom he said have been after his life even when he was President. Governors Wike and Dickson said the imputation was baseless.
Tompolo, who, in the last few months, had severally denied any association with NDA was shocked that the RNDA listed him as sponsor of NDA. His media consultant, Paul Bebenimbo, a Mass Communication scholar currently doing his PHD was also aghast. Former Special Adviser to the President of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku and a journalist, who once headed the Media Department of the Presidential Amnesty Officer, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, were by stunned by the accusation, which they pooh-poohed.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that Chief Clark, who the splinter faction dragged into the mess, concluded that it was the antics of desperate youths, as right-thinking persons know that at his age and what he stands for in the country, he could not be involved in such a scandalous affair.
Niger Delta Avengers, who are at the centre of the storm, seem really perturbed by the RNDA tirade, saying: The thinking to lure the public to another lie of split in the Niger Delta Avengers is the way of government agents and agencies with delusional disorder.”
“ This is the result of government and security agencies that are only becoming childish everyday for engaging drug addicts, bank robbers, sea pirates, falling political angels and charlatans to undo the Niger Delta people and our genuine desire to self-determination and resource control,” the spokesperson, so-called Brig General Mudoch Agbinibo asserted.
It named a former governor of Bayelsa state, a Niger Delta activist, an ex-militant leader as the main collaborators with security agencies, particularly a top official of the DSS, to disorganize the Avengers.
Let the real Cynthia Whyte stand up
“It is quite unfortunate that, Cynthia Whyte and Jomo Gbomo of defunct Joint Revolutionary Council and MEND respectively are the spokespersons of the Nigerian intelligentsia community because of some political interest and a government that have abdicated powers to clansmen and tribal lords.
“The facts about Cynthia Whyte, aka George Karley and his sponsors should be laid bare before the public now that the Nigerian security and intelligent community has turned the Niger Delta genuine struggle to a tool of political patronage and money making machine for miscreants and conflict merchants,” Agbinibo said.
NDA explained that the name Cynthia Whyte was the negotiation organ for an ex-militant leader, a former governor and others for settlements in kidnappings, bank robberies, illegal crude oil bunkering and dirty jobs for government.
It is all politics – HRM Ayemi-Botu
A dependable source told our reporter that Ijaw leaders have not slept since the unflattering finger pointing by RNDA. They have held several meetings in Delta and Bayelsa states since the bombshell and are mostly of the view that some persons were using the RNDA to cause hostility in the region.
Former national chairman of the Traditional Rulers for Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, and paramount ruler of Siembiri Kingdom Delta State, Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu, told Saturday Vanguard: “No doubt, the whole thing is politics, some people have used the RNDA to politicize the Niger Delta struggle. “
“You know when the Boko Haram scourge was on, even though, it has been tamed now, but still alive, and people were saying the sponsors were Northern politicians, Jonathan almost wanted to name them, but later backtracked. It is the same thing now. Some people have decided to use the RNDA to discredit South-South leaders and PDP politicians in particular.
RNDA should first unmask itself
“At what point did they now repent, why did they go into the destruction in the first instance, is such a group credible? Just look at the damage they have caused the country against advice by well-meaning leaders from the region and other parts of the country. I think the RNDA should first unmask themselves for the people to know them.
Govt should be careful with RNDA accusation- Bozimo
Former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Brodrick Bozimo, said: “Let me start with what is happening in United States of America, you see one of the presidential candidates, Donald Trump, saying that President Barrack Obama is the sponsor of ISIS. I hope you understand what he intends to achieve with that allegation, it is all politics.”
“That is what has happened in the Niger Delta struggle and it is unfortunate. Some people have politicized the struggle and it is all because of money. You ask me, I am perplexed at the development.
Bozimo maintained that whatever damage done on oil installations in the region does not affect the country alone, but Niger Delta people and the communities where the oil facilities are, adding: “Ijaw communities are mostly affected in this destruction.”
He stressed the need for other ethnic groups, bitter with Ijaw on the mistaken notion that the tribe deployed militants to sabotage oil installations to disabuse their minds, as Ijaw leaders remain united in their objection to bombing of pipelines in any manner as tool to negotiate development of the region with government.
The former minister urged government to dialogue with leaders and stakeholders of the region and come up with a feasible development plan to assuage the angry youths, who are livid about non-development of the region from Delta to Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Edo, Cross River and other Niger Delta states.