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.”
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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