- Category: DANIEL ELOMBAH
- Published on Thursday, 07 October 2010 20:46
- Written by Daniel Elombah
Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), an umbrella of major militant groups in the Niger Delta yesterday said former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, contacted it to carry out the bomb attacks. JRC's spokesman, the group alleged that the attacks were carried out by Henry Okah with the support of IBB, and that the aim was to assassinate President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo among other top government officials.
Former military president, General Ibrahim Baba-ngida, said those linking him with the October 1st bombings in Abuja are ‘idiotic’. “It will be idiotic for anyone to link me to that bomb blast because I know what the unity of this country means and that was why we fought to keep it together. So why should I get involved in such a mess?” He asked yesterday.
From South Africa where he is currently on trial for his alleged involvement in the carnage, former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Mr. Henry Okah, said a close associate of President Goodluck Jonathan asked him to implicate Northerners as the brain behind the twin bombings which killed about 12 people and left 36 others injured.
Okah said: "On Saturday morning, just a day after the attack, a very close associate of President Jonathan called me and explained to me that there had been a bombing in Nigeria and that President Jonathan wanted me to reach out to the group, MEND, and get them to retract the earlier statement they had issued claiming the attacks.
"They wanted to blame the attacks on Northerners who are trying to fight against him to come back as president and if this was done, I was not going to have any problems with the South African government.
"I declined to do this and a few hours later I was arrested. It was based on their belief that I was going to do that that Jonathan issued a statement saying that MEND did not carry out the attack."
Jonathan had said the bombings were carried out by a small group based outside the country and sponsored by "unpatriotic elements within the country".
In a statement signed by presidential spokesman, Mr. Ima Niboro, he said Okah’s claims were an “outright lie” and asked him to name the “close associate” who asked him to implicate Northerners.
But while the Presidency denied the allegation and called Okah a liar, the group of four presidential aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and Dr. Bukola Saraki – issued a joint statement saying government was complicit in the bombings.
Okah told Aljazeera that he was arrested because he refused to tell the group to retract a statement claiming responsibility for the attacks.
However, Before and Immediately after the October 1, 2010 bomb blast MEND had issued a statement claiming responsibility for the bombing, but President Goodluck Jonathan said MEND is not responsible for the attacks.
The State Security Service (SSS) also said the suspects arrested so far were linked to “prominent Nigerians”.
High Chief Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, a friend of Babangida, Chairman DAAR Comunications and Director General of IBB 2011 Cmpaign Organisation was arrested and interrogated for the bombings. Dokpesi was arrested and interrogated because three out of nine suspects arrested and currently under arrest for the Abuja Nigeria@50 Bomb blast allegedly received a text message from dokpesi about payment for an assignment they did for IBB campaign organisation.
Nigeria Security agencies say the direction of their investigations points to Henry Okah and Raymond Dokpesi. IBB campaign says Dokpesi is innocent.
The Joint Revolutionary Council, JRC, comprising of units of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, The Reformed Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force and the Martyrs Brigade, has dissociated the group from the actions of Henry Okah who until recently was the lead arms supplier to a faction of MEND.
According to JRC in an online e-mail by its spokesperson with the pseudonym, Cynthia Whyte, in an email sent to newspaper houses said: “Henry Okah until recently was the lead arms supplier to a faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. His faction of MEND was led by General Boyloaf (Victor Ebikabowei) who has since disbanded his unit, which represents the mainstream MEND and joined forces with the renewed efforts to bring peace, stability and development to the Niger Delta”.
The group further called Henry Okah “a monster that was created by frontline Ijaw leader, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. During his incarceration in 2005-2007, Henry Okah was mandated and paid to service fighting units loyal to Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. He exploited Dokubo-Asari’s absence, cunningly hijacked the e-mail address used by MEND to communicate with the world, sold arms to armed robbers and confiscated hundreds of millions of naira meant for the supply of arms to combat groups in the Niger Delta.
“Since his release from prison by former President Yar’Adua and realising that he had lost clout, Okah sought to work with former armed robbery gangs that he had supplied arms to in the past. These armed groups were responsible for bank robberies and armed attacks on oil companies based in Port Harcourt and its environs.
“Henry Okah is not MEND and MEND is not Henry Okah. We condemn him totally and await further directives on appropriate actions that will be taken on this hardened criminal who successfully infiltrated our ranks to perpetrate heinous crimes. His end has come”, the group vowed.
During a visit to President Jonathan at Aso Villa on Tuesday, ex-militants namely Chief Government Ekpemolo, a.k.a. Tompolo; Ateke Tom; Farah Dagogo; Alhaji Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari; Shoot at Sight; Busta Rhymes and Egberipapa said the 1 October bombing was condemnable, adding that “it is dastardly, irresponsible and morally reprehensible. We reject such incident and we say that the Niger Delta people are not in support of it.”
“Let it go from here and let it go to the entire world, particularly because we read in the media that it was MEND that carried out the blasts. All the leaders of MEND and all other organi-sations are here and we say that MEND was not responsible for that bomb blasts. Our struggle is a responsible struggle,” they said.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Mr Victor Ebika-bowei, also known as Boy-loaf, denied the existence of any MEND member with the name Jomo Gbomo, who allegedly signed the bomb alert statement passed to the media before the blasts.
“Jomo Gbomo does not exist. If the person handling the media sector has a problem and another person takes over, so far, he has the password of the e-mail, he can use the name of Jomo Gbomo and cover up as Jomo Gbomo. So, there is nothing as Jomo Gbomo, he does not exist,” he said.
In South Africa, Okah is facing a two-count charge in connection with the October 1 twin explosions in Abuja, which left 12 people dead and many others injured.
One observer noted that "it now appears there are Illegitimate MEND members headed by Henry Okah, who do distastefully bad things, such as bombing their nation’s Capital under the name of MEND".
Part of the JRC group's statement said: While we were reflecting on the journey so far, some revolutionary elements launched two terrorist attacks in Abuja that took the lives of several innocent people and claimed it was for the Niger Delta struggle. Our intelligence report revealed that those attacks were planned by Okah and executed by the terrorist group he formed with the support of Babangida.
It was formed with the aim of fighting against President Jonathan should he forge ahead with his plan to contest in 2011 poll.
The attack had two main goals. Firstly, to assassinate Jonathan, Sambo and others in the line of succession.
"Secondly, if the President and those in the line of succession survive the attack, the insecurity arising from that would be used as excuse for the military intervention.
JRC took a snipe at those claiming to be members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), saying they are not, as MEND was disbanded after all of their leaders accepted the federal governments offer of amnesty.
It said: The attacks were a mercenary job done on behalf of Babangida and his cohorts. We know this because we were approached earlier by agents of IBB to carry out attacks in the Niger Delta and Abuja to demystify Jonathan and show that he does not have the support of his people, but we declined.
"It was because of this that we suspended our armed campaign this year. We realised that IBB was going to use our genuine agitation to his own selfish advantage. It was when we declined that they approached Henry Okah who is a mercenary by nature, and they started with the Warri bomb blasts followed by the anniversary attacks. For now we can say authoritatively that Okah heads IBB's terror machine and they are more sophisticated than what they have done so far.
The recent events in the politics of the Nigerian state further expose the ethnic and national contradictions and justify our agitations for self determination and call for a sovereign national conference of all the nationalities that were forcefully conscripted into Nigeria. T
his is the only peaceful way of getting out of this barbarism that is threatening to create the biggest refugee problem in the world,? the group said.
It warned politicians not to drag our region and its genuine struggle into their muddy water of politics. Also, those who are planning to organise a coup de'tat should know that they would have us to contend with as we will never allow their authority to extend into our region. We are watching keenly as the drama unfolds, knowing that after this mad dance of macabre we shall meet at the barricade".