The immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, has denied having any link with the militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers.
A breakaway faction of the militant group, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, had in a statement at the weekend by its spokesperson, Cynthia White, mentioned prominent Nigerians of Niger-Delta origin, chief among them, former President Goodluck Jonathan, as sponsors of the NDA.
Others mentioned in the statement by the RNDA as sponsors of the NDA, whose bombing of oil and gas installations in the region has reduced crude oil production to 1.2million barrels per day from almost 1.8million barrels, include Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, Ex-Gov. Akpabio, ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo); media mogul and PDP national chairmanship aspirant, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi; former Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Kingsley Kuku, and disgraced former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi among others.
But Mr. Akpabio, who is the Senate Minority Leader, described the report as a “politically motivated propaganda”.
“It is a fabrication from the pit of hell from those who are profiteering from the crisis in the Niger Delta and would wish no end to it”, the former Akwa Ibom governor said through a statement released on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Media, Anietie Ekong.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that Senator Akpabio has no link with the Niger Delta Avengers or any other militant group for that matter.
“Contrarily, the position of Senator Akpabio as a foremost advocate of dialogue in resolving the Niger Delta crisis is well known. He is of the strong belief that blowing up pipelines and causing further environmental pollution of the Niger Delta is not in the interest of the region as it would take over 100 years to remediate the effects of such environmental degradation.
“Neither does he believe that economic sabotage at a time of economic recession that the nation is presently passing through can be an answer to the Niger Delta problem”.
He warned against politicizing the Niger Delta crisis.
“What the nation needs is concerted efforts by stakeholders to holistically through dialogue address the grievances of the region, which luckily President Muhammadu Buhari has already started”.