The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has described as false, President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim that the group tried to assassinate him twice.
Speaking at a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rally in Lagos on Thursday, Jonathan claimed that the leader of the organisation, Henry Okah, now serving a jail term in South Africa, was paid to assassinate him in 2010.
However, MEND’s Spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, said, “We challenge President Jonathan to come out and reveal to the nation the names of the persons he claimed paid Mr Henry Okah to assassinate him.
“Goodluck Jonathan should also explain why these persons, as he obviously knows who they are, were not arrested, tried and convicted.”
In an electronic mail by Gbomo, cited by Vanguard, MEND said it was false that it planned to kill President Jonathan.
“MEND views the President, Goodluck Jonathan’s recent campaign rally speech as the most outrageous and ridiculous speech by any President, where he openly accused Mr Henry Okah of being paid to assassinate him.
“Mr President, the MEND says thank you for vindicating every word in our recent statement of endorsement of General Muhammadu Buhari and for also solidifying your status.
“The MEND would like to state clearly that our endorsement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, has absolutely nothing to do with Mr Henry Okah.
“Nigerians may recall that prior to the bomb blast of October 1, 2010; the MEND issued a warning of an impending attack on Eagle Square, Abuja, where we also advised the public to stay clear of any parked vehicles to avert any casualties. These warnings were ignored by the Nigerian security agencies, hence the unfortunate and regrettable casualties.
“If as Goodluck Jonathan claimed, that he was a target of an assassination attempt, why did we issue a prior warning? Where in this world would an assassin warn their targets in advance of an attempt on their lives? This allegation by Goodluck Jonathan, further confirms our earlier assertion of how he takes Nigerians as stupid as he seems to have forgotten how he openly came out to absolve MEND of any involvement in the attack.
“Rather than address his administration’s failures, he chose to descend so low by using a very cheap bare faced (method) to get sympathy. Is this the kind of President the country wants to be stuck with for another four years of misery?
“On the National Dialogue report, Goodluck Jonathan has finally resorted to cheap blackmail by urging the nation to vote for him as a condition to implementing the report. What a blatant insult! Despite all the billions of Naira spent on that jamboree?
“At this point, the MEND urges the nation to use the power of their votes in securing this great country from the claws of Jonathan’s corrupt and inept government and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.”