Read Time:2 Minute, 50 Second
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, has warned the controversial Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to desist from distorting the history of the Niger Delta struggle for its selfish interest.
In particular, Kuku, who claimed to have played a prominent role in ending the Niger Delta crisis, also warned the shadowy group not to drag the name of President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, into the mud because of its pecuniary interest. Kuku told journalists in Abuja that he could not understand what MEND wanted to gain by trying desperately to change the history of the Niger Delta struggle and denigrate the persons of Jonathan and his wife, who also risked their lives to bring about peace in the region.
MEND at the weekend criticised Kuku over his comments in a televised interview on Boko Haram’s insurgency in the North-East and the role of some individuals in the Niger Delta agitation prior to the Federal Government’s offer of amnesty to former militants as a way of ending the restiveness in the region.
Kuku, who is also chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), spoke to journalists in Abuja, flanked by a Niger Delta leader, Elder Timi Ogoriba.
He wondered when MEND became Boko Haram’s mouthpiece as to know the real reason the terrorist’s group spurned the government’s offer for dialogue.
“I have no apologies to offer MEND for my comments on Boko Haram and the commendable and patriotic role of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, since the Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction saga commenced. If it angers MEND, then I wonder whose interest they are fighting for,” he said.
He particularly upbraided the shadowy militant group for trying to write a negative and skewed history of the Niger Delta agitation in order to discredit some individuals, particularly President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) and Mujahid Dokubo-Asari.
Kuku said: “Some of us who played significant roles in ending the agitation in the Niger Delta cannot be silent when some persons try to foist a skewed history of the crisis on us.
“The persons that claim to be behind MEND are in no position to write the history of the Niger Delta agitation. I challenge whoever is claiming to be MEND now to controvert the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan, at the time he was Vice President, played a significant role in ending the insurgency in the Niger Delta.
“Where were those behind MEND now when our late beloved President Umaru Yar’Adua, who because of his concern for the peace of the region, sought to end the conflict and destruction of oil facilities, the kidnapping of expatriates on the Niger Delta waterways and the proliferation of arms, then dispatched his Vice, Dr. Jonathan, to Tompolo’s Camp 5 in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State?”
Kuku said in furtherance of this, Dr. Jonathan on June 28, 2007 held a meeting with Tompolo at Okerenkoko, after which he (Tompolo) was invited to Abuja. But rather than Tompolo going alone, he called a meeting of Ijaw leaders and stakeholders, who converged on Gbaramatu. A 10-man team was then put together to dialogue with the Federal Government on the way forward.