Findings by security agencies have allegedly implicated the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in the formation and activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, which has claimed responsibility for various cases of bombing of oil and gas facilities.
The intelligence report, which is still being studied by the Presidency, confirmed that oil installations were mined before the May 29, 2015 handover to President Muhammadu Buhari by the immediate past president.
Recall that on the 7th of this month, Jonathan denied having any links with NDA, restating his commitment to the nation’s unity. He spoke in reaction to the claim to the contrary by the splinter militant group, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA.
The Nation is, however, reporting that a top intelligence source, who spoke in confidence last night, divulged that the NDA was formed as a Plan B option before the 2015 general election.
The source said the initial plan was to ask the NDA to declare Niger Delta Republic immediately after Jonathan’s defeat, but the ex-President was believed to have prevailed on the group to shelve the idea.
The NDA was said to have been resuscitated after the Federal Government launched a massive probe into the mismanagement of the oil sector.
The revelations from the probe were said to have overwhelmed the ex-President, who felt he and ex-First Lady, Patience Jonathan were being targeted.
The source was reported as saying: “We have intelligence report that it is true that the ex-President has been meeting with the NDA militants before the general election.
“The initial plan was to declare Niger Delta Republic after Jonathan’s electoral loss but the NDA members were taken aback when the ex-President conceded.
“Findings confirmed that the ex-President and others being probed, resuscitated the NDA plan when the Federal Government initiated a probe into the oil sector.
“We suspect that the ex-President is afraid that the way the investigation in the oil industry was going, he and his wife will be questioned.
“The fact that some of the conditions put forward by the NDA, including not going after Government Ekpemuopolo Tompolo, and stopping investigation of all corruption probes, have confirmed some of the intelligence.”
The anonymous official further stated that: “Intelligence report also showed that the evidence of the attacks of oil installations was planned before May 29. The NDA and other militants had mined these installations before the handover.
“But following the probe of the oil sector, they were mandated to start detonating it.
“Intelligence report also indicated that a former Coordinator of Amnesty Programme Kingsley Kuku and a former National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh might have played some key roles in the formation and operation of NDA,” the source added.
However, both Metuh and Kuku have also denied any role in the activities of the Avengers.
When contacted by the newspaper, a high-ranking government source, who asked not to be named, said: “It has been known in government circles that Jonathan may be behind the NDA. The speed with which he denied the allegation spoke volumes.
“Despite the denial, the allegations have refused to go away.
“His allegation that MEND is after him is to divert attention from his roles as the mastermind of the NDA. His morbid fear of being investigated alongside his wife is behind what is going on. Investigation has revealed massive looting under his administration. His alarm was just to pre-empt being probed.”
Meanwhile, the August 7th statement issued by the former president’s media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, denying having any connection between Jonathan and the notorious group, reads, “For the avoidance of doubt, we are fully convinced that such an idiotic claim is too cheap a narrative, a facile contrivance so badly concocted that any discerning mind would easily see through its disingenuous and duplicitous nature.
“Since it is not in our place to speak for all those named in the obvious fabrication, we are only intervening to the extent that its hidden intent poses a violent threat to the life of former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, a committed patriot who the Almighty God has given the grace and good health to rededicate his life to the service of humanity, after serving his dear nation as President to the best of his abilities.
“We are also not bothered by this baseless accusation, contented that we are not the only ones conversant with Jonathan’s widely-acknowledged sincere disposition to peace, non-violence and better human community.
“We are however seized by the feeling of déjà vu occasioned by the resurrection of one dim character masquerading as ‘Cynthia White’, who had in the past served as the spokesperson for a notorious group that had all along shown its hand to be going after the life of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“Nigerians could recall that in 2007 when Jonathan emerged as the running mate to the late President Umar’ Yar’Adua in the People’s Democratic Party during that year’s presidential election, this very group invaded Yenagoa with hundreds of militants in an effort to assassinate him.
“Jonathan was only saved then by the spirited efforts of the combined forces of determined security men, who gallantly repelled the attack.”