Some ex-militants in the Niger Delta region purported to be signatories to an advertorial in a national daily have distanced themselves from the publication, describing it as journalistic fraud.
In the Vanguard newspapers of Friday, September 6, 12 persons in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari had allegedly accused Chief Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, of plotting to remove Prof Charles Dokubo, the presidential adviser on amnesty.
However, 10 of the supposed 12 signatories in the said publication have disowned it, claiming that their names were forged.
This is coming as the president of the umbrella organisation of all the former militants who accepted amnesty under the first phase, Pastor Reuben Wilson on Friday announced his resignation as leader of the forum of ex-militant leaders.
In a statement in Yenagoa and made available to Straightnews, Wilson said that he had to resign because he could not work with people whose conscience can easily be bought by those he described as selfish power mongers who had no respect for their fathers and leaders.
In the publication, the ex-militants were alleged to have accused Sylva of working in consonance with some Peoples Democratic Party, PDP heavyweights in Delta State to frustrate Asari Dokubo and ensure that he was sacked.
Specifically, they accused Sylva of holding a meeting with a certain David Otuaro, whom they said was related to the wanted Government Ekpemupolo, popularly called Tompolo, as part of efforts to dislodge Dokubo.
According to them, Sylva’s actions were inimical to the president’s dreams for the Niger Delta. They urged the president to warn Sylva to stop further actions against Dokubo so that the peace in the region would not be punctuated.
Already, ‘General’ Nico Sintei from Akwa Ibom State and ‘General’ Dari Koro from Bayelsa State- two of the former militants, said in separate interviews on Friday evening, that they knew nothing about the publication and demanded an apology from those behind it.
But some hours after the publication, the former freedom fighters said they were shocked to see their names in the publication, even though they knew nothing about it. Sintei, whose name appears as part of the signatories said “this is fraud. It is impersonation. I want you to tell the whole world that I knew nothing about that publication.
“If they don’t apologise, I will not take it kindly. My name has been used against my wish. I don’t know anything about that write-up. Somebody told me they saw my name in Vanguard newspaper that I joined in writing a petition against Sylva.”
In a separate interview, Wilson who was the president of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, the umbrella body for leaders of the various former militant groups said it was disappointing for him to have found the names of his colleagues in the newspaper.
“When I drew their attention to the publication, they were shocked. They confirmed to me that they did not know anything about the publication; that nobody even consulted them before they went ahead to include their names.
“I have resigned as their leader and I have disowned any of them who may have conspired against true sons of the Niger Delta like Sylva and Tompolo. If anybody was paid to ridicule Sylva and Tompolo, it will not be well with such people. I have spoken to some of the people whose names I saw there and for the person who did this, judgement day is approaching soon.
“We cannot show this kind of disregard to our leaders. Sylva is our father. If anybody has any issue with Tompolo or with Sylva, they should settle it by themselves and not try to bring in these freedom fighters. We are not happy at all about this. Those guys whose names they used there are my people. I am their leader. I totally condemn the fraudulent publication and the criminal use of my people’s names in the said publication. We will go to court on this matter.”