Fresh Storm In Niger Delta Over Jonathan

* As Cynthia Whyte Disowns Avengers

By Akanimo Sampson,
Port Harcourt

THE volatile Niger Delta, Nigeria’s troubled oil and gas region, is on the boil again. This time, vested political interests are stoking a fresh fire that is likely to lead to a renewed round of bloodletting.

A splinter militant group, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, jolted the country when they named former President Goodluck Jonathan, as the sponsor of the rampaging Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).

Spokesperson of the splinter group, Cynthia Whyte, also named Senator Godswill Akpabio, the immediate past of Akwa Ibom State; Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers State), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa State), founder of the African Independent Television (AIT), Raymond Dokpesi, former Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku; among others as sponsors.

But, Cynthia Whyte, a well known spokesperson of the Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), who purportedly indicted Jonathan in the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers’ statement, has denied ever issuing such a statement and also distant herself from the splinter group.

In an online statement early on Monday, the JRC said, ”our attention has been drawn to a deceitful, malicious and cantankerous press release issued by a con-group which calls itself the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers and signed by a ‘Cynthia Whyte’.

”We wish to inform the Nigerian people and unsuspecting media that both the name of the signee and the group it represents are a fraud”.

The revolutionary council queried, ”why would a Goodluck Jonathan want to fund or sponsor the renewed agitation in the Niger Delta? Will it bring him back to power as President of a nation as deformed as Nigeria?

”Why would a Nyesom Wike, a Governor who is still struggling to fix pot holes in Rivers State, want to fund militancy in the Niger Delta? Will it increase his monthly allocation from the center? Would a Governor of that state want to compound the insecurity issues in his state?”

They said the splinter group represents” just how far a group of people would go to con President Muhammadu Buhari and his many lieutenants”.

Meanwhile, there is an uneasy calm in the oil and gas region, with no one able to predict yet, the direction an impending ill wind will blow.

For some worried citizens, the splinter group’s statement indicting Jonathan, and the other prominent stalwarts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was aimed at sparking off a political crisis in the region.

The PDP has always been very vociferous in their accusation of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) of plotting for a state of
emergency in the volatile oil region. Politically inspired killings in Rivers, appear to be giving credence to this charge.

However, power struggle in the oil region is polarised along the lines of APC and PDP. It is suspected that this dichotomy may have engulf the ranks of the armed rebels in the region.