JTF Warns Bayelsa Governor, Others Suspected Of Shielding John Togo
WARRI, May 18, (THEWILL) - Following allegations that the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Timipre Sylva is proving shelter for wanted militant leader “General’ John Togo, the Nigerian military task force charged with restoring order in the Niger Delta, the security Joint Task Force (JTF) today sounded a strong warning to politicians and influential government officials, individual(s), communities or group(s) providing shelter for the wanted militia leader and his commanders.
The JTF through its spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Timothy Antigha today via a telephone chat with THEWILL correspondent said the military would not spare any obstacles on its path to ensuring that the rebels are brought to justice for their alleged criminal activities in the Nigeria’s oil bed.
Though there have been reports that John Togo was killed during a raid by the JTF over the weekend, the military task force has relentlessly said it was a ploy by the leader to evade justice. The JTF has also rejected the militia’s offer to surrender its arms warning that the group could not be trusted.
Ekpien Appah, the commander of one of the orientation camps for former militants under the federal government’s amnesty deal had told some local newspapers that the Bayelsa State Governor knows where to find John Togo.
Appah is the Camp administrator of the Obubra Amnesty Camp in Cross River State.
“It is unfortunate that someone comes and tells us they do not know where John Togo is in the Niger-Delta. They should go to and meet Sylva to produce John Togo. John Togo is with him; I do not hide anything. Our governors must be called to order, especially in the Niger-Delta. As I’m talking today, John Togo, I repeat, is in Government House in Bayelsa. Say it in the papers let them come and arrest me,” Appah stated.
However, Antigha said the alleged death and secret burial of Togo, the purported surrender of his Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF) and the allegation that he is being given shelter in one of Bayelsa State Government Guest Houses courtesy of Sylva are all part of the militant leader’s elaborate plan to evade justice.
“The JTF as a professional military outfit cannot fall victim of this elaborate deception plan,” the JTF spokesman added.
Sylva Denies Allegation
In a statement Wednesday by Timipre Sylva’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Doifie Ola, titled: ‘Sylva not hiding John Togo’, the governor described the allegation against him as ‘unfair, irresponsible and disturbing.’
Part of the statement reads: “That report is unfair, irresponsible and disturbing. It is false in every material particular. Everyone, who has followed the history of the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta knows that Bayelsa State represents the poster-child of its success. It was Governor Sylva who sold the idea of the programme to late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“It is, therefore, unthinkable that the governor would want to do anything to undermine a programme he has invested inestimable institutional and personal resources. Sylva has no reason whatsoever to shield John Togo or any wanted person from the law. No. The idea that John Togo is in Government House, Yenagoa, when he is not even from Bayelsa State, is simply laughable.
“But then, we understand the desperation of a few of our politicians and their paid and unpaid agents.
“For us, this report represents one in a series of coming reports by someone who is neurotic about being Governor of Bayelsa State, working covertly and overtly, to create disaffection between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Timipre Sylva.”