Henry and Charles Okah, leaders of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), have threatened to file a legal action against former President Goodluck Jonathan over the allegation of assassination levelled against them.
The Okah brothers, who are standing trial for alleged terrorism in Nigeria and South Africa, said they had asked their lawyers to commence legal proceedings against the ex-president within 60 days.
While responding to the allegation that he is one of the sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers, Jonathan had accused the Okahs of being bent on taking his life.
The ex-president said having failed to achieve their plot, which they had hatched in 2007, the brothers through MEND, are trying to instigate the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to go after him.
“It is no secret that following that incident (independence day bombing), Okah, the leader of MEND was arrested, tried, convicted and jailed in South Africa over terrorism charges by the security authorities of that country. He remains in a South African prison till date while his associates in Nigeria are still being held in Kuje prison, Abuja,” read a statement issued on Jonathan’s behalf by Ikechukwu Eze, his media aide.
“We, therefore, have no doubt in our mind that MEND, as a group contracted to go after Jonathan with the mind of assassinating him, is yet to abandon this criminal and ignominious craving. It is in this light that we view the purported statement issued by ‘Cynthia White’ as not only a sadistic continuation of this sick desire, but also a futile attempt to instigate the federal government to needlessly go after the former president.”
But denying the allegations, MEND wondered why Jonathan would comment on a matter that is before the court of law.
“The attention of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been drawn to a statement issued by one Ikechukwu Eze, on behalf of former President Goodluck Jonathan purporting to dissociate the former President from the allegation leveled against him by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) that, the former president is the Grand Patron of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA),” the statement read.
“With all due respect, the entire statement was deeply provocative and embarrassingly misconceived as it woefully failed to address the core issue of whether or not the former president is indeed the grand patron of the NDA.
“Any follower of events in Nigeria and the Niger Delta who was privileged to read the statement released by Mr. Jonathan, would immediately observe that the former President had a score to settle with the Okah brothers as well as with MEND.
“A substantial portion of Mr. Jonathan’s statement unfortunately dwelt on judicial matters, which are pending in various courts in Nigeria and South Africa.
“The former president’s statement is therefore, most highly contemptuous, injurious to the credit of MEND and the Okah brothers; and, above all, prejudicial to the eventual outcome of the ongoing trials in South African and Nigerian courts, respectively.
“Consequently, both brothers shall, on account of the former President’s prejudicial statement, institute legal action against him in South Africa and Nigeria within 60 days, commencing from today, August 9, 2016.
“Accordingly, they have briefed their respective Solicitors to formally engage the former president in litigation.”
MEND, which said it was at the forefront of the “struggle” thatled to the emergence of Jonathan, added that the Niger Delta may not produce another president in 100 years.
It accused Jonathan of “frittering away the opportunity” to develop the region, blaming him for most of the problems in the Niger Delta.
“Indeed, the problem in the Niger Delta today has nothing to do with the current administration. Far from it! The problem is simply, the failure of Mr. Jonathan to address the root issues confronting the region when he was at the helm. Mr. Jonathan disappointingly frittered away the opportunity to rescue his people when the Nigerian presidency fortuitously landed on his laps, virtually on a platter of gold,” the statement read.
“The Nigerian presidency might never come back to the Niger Delta region as cheap as it came to Mr. Jonathan; perhaps, in the next 100 years.
“Lest we forget, MEND was at the forefront of the armed struggle back in 2006/2007 which forced the then government of President Olusegun Obasanjo to consider the option of drafting an Ijaw into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. That was how the perpetually timid and naïve Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan became vice-president and later, president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“When he assumed therein s as President, he did the unthinkable; he tracked down perceived MEND leaders and promptly got them imprisoned on a trumped-up charge of attempt to assassinate him.”