By Job Osazuwa
Former president Goodluck Jonathan has denied any link with the militant group, the Nigerian Delta Avengers, the group which has claimed responsibilities for series of attacks on oil instatations in the Niger Delta region.
The former president, in a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, refutted the the stories published in two national dailies (not Daily Sun), that some intelligence reports had linked him to the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta.
Jonathan stated that he would have ignored the allegation, having responded recently to the “exact same fabrication peddled by a shady militant group, but for the new dimension of bringing in the authorities, while hiding under the often-abused of quoting nebulous ‘sources.’
“Firstly, we noted that there were similarities in the two stories published same day by the two newspapers, that are too striking to pass the test of the normal newsroom process of diligent reporting and independent investigation.
“We are convinced that such clear coincidences are only permissible in situations where general statements are issued, but not on matters of intelligence/security reports which do not fly into newsrooms as press releases.”
Jonathan said he was amazed that a newspaper would be quick to report that “the intelligence gathering was said to be a confirmation of a similar claim by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND),” even without subjecting such frivolity to any ethical interrogation.
“From what we know about intelligence gathering, there is no responsible government agency that would rush, as claimed in the newspaper stories, to adopt the accusations of a questionable rebellious organisation as its own findings, without applying the professional processes of rigor and due diligence.”
The reports also claimed that “the game plan of Jonathan and his associates backing the NDA was to cause enough economic damage in order to force President Muhammadu Buhari to pursue a political solution to the corruption cases on which investigations were already advancing against them.
Jonathan pointed out that the two publications wore the cloak of the deceit from the same misguided characters that were hell-bent on pulling him down, despite his clear record of diligent service to his country and long standing commitment to the good of society.
The statement said that there was no doubt that there exist such people who might have scores to settle with Jonathan but were now feeling frustrated by the fact that “his national and international profile has continued to rise, despite their recourse to endless muck-raking character assassination.”