I NEVER SPONSORED MEND OR MILITANTS - ATIKU
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has declared that he had never sponsored or aided the activities of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) or any other militant group in the oil rich region in whatever guise.
Special Assistant to Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Timi Frank who spoke on behalf of the former Vice President, while reacting to the allegation by Sobomabo Jackrick that some Northern political leaders such as former military President General Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were sponsoring the activities of MEND, said such accusation was the height of political sycophancy and insincerity.
Timi who was one of the leaders of Niger Delta Youths told Daily Sun in an interview that the Niger Delta people know where their problems lied and should face it rather than accuse innocent people.
He said Jackrick who spoke on behalf of Tompolo, Boyloaf and others was merely looking for cheap political relevance through acts of sycophancy in the presidency.
'If their aim is to do a cheap job for President Jonathan, it would be better to handle such jobs within the presidency and not by attempting to tarnish the names of northern leaders that have contributed so much to the development of the country.
'Nigerians should disregard their comments. They should go and do their eye-service job around the President but not to make statements that would threaten our democracy and precipitate crisis because as we speak today, Atiku is a loyal member of the PDP and remains a member of the party. He is fighting for the interest of the party and I don't see any reason why anybody would say, Atiku is trying to sponsor any person let alone MEND to destabilise Jonathan in 2011,' he said.
He cutioned the ex-militant leaders to stop pointing fingers at the wrong direction.
'We know our problems in the Niger Delta and we should face them and stop pointing fingers at people that have nothing to do with the problems of the region. We should concentrate on how to tackle and resolve our problems and should stop accusing innocent people like Atiku Abubakar and General Babangida. I can stand to say that Atiku has nothing to do with their allegations.'
He urged security agencies to investigate the allegation in order to come out with the facts and not allow some sycophants to just make unfounded allegations just to be in the good books of those in power.
'I am a son of the Niger Delta and I would only stand for the right thing for my people. I would not belong to any group that would just want to spoil people's name for cheap political point. As far as I am concerned, Atiku is not sponsoring MEND, he has nothing to do with MEND because I am working for him and I know his position on the development of the Niger Delta.
'I can say authoritatively that those persons that mentioned Atiku Abubakar's name and other Northern leaders like IBB to be part of sponsors of MEND activities, lack the capacity to speak politically in this country because they do not understand the politics they are being made to play.'
He therefore appealed to the people of Niger Delta not to allow some ex-militants to mislead them simply because the President is from their region.
'We the Niger Delta people must be careful with managing the Presidency that is presently with one of us so that it doesn't look as if because we have the President, we are now harassing and intimidating other people particularly northern leaders.We should be seen to be working for peace at all times.'
The Special Assistant to Atiku on Niger Delta further said that this was not the first time that the region is witnessing problem that are internal in nature stressing that it is a common knowledge that the leaders of the region constitute the main problem of the region.
'Some of us would continue to speak the truth because a lot of us know the truth. Recently, there were some attacks in some of communities in the Niger Delta, was it northern leaders that carried out the attacks, the answer is no. So we should stop accusing leaders of the north,' Timi enthused.