Niger Delta Avengers: DSS invites Goodluck Jonathan’s former aides

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan smiles during a press conference at the South African Parliament in Cape Town, on May 7, 2013. The leaders of Africa's two biggest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, pledged closer ties on Tuesday in what was hailed as a milestone in a sometime patchy relationship. President Jacob Zuma rolled out a red carpet for his counterpart Goodluck Jonathan as ministers signed nine sectoral pacts covering oil and gas, power, defence and communication. AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH

Following incessant attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta, the Department of State Services (DSS) has switched its sights to some associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan to unravel their alleged links with the new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers.

Leadership reports that although a source close to the undercover agency hinted that more may be quizzed, he specifically mentioned former presidential aide, Mr Waripamowei Dudafa, and Jonathan’s cousin, Robert Azibola, as possible guests of the DSS within the week to explain what they know about the new militant group.

The source disclosed that former director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Patrick Akpobolokemi, might also be invited for questioning. Incidentally, the trio of Dudafa, Azibola and Akpobolokemi are having running battles with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

While the latter is already in court on multiple charges courtesy of the anti-graft body, the duo of Dudafa and Azibola are yet to be charged to court weeks after their arrest and detention. Their lawyers have petitioned relevant agencies over the ordeal of their clients even as Dudafa had complained that he had been denied medical attention while in EFCC custody.

But the source confided in our correspondent that the inability of the EFCC to effect the bail of both the former president’s cousin and aide was as a result of an ongoing searchlight on the duo.

‘‘The issue of their bail or not is beyond the EFCC. Remember that once national security is involved, nothing will be left unturned to unravel whatever that needed to be exposed.

“As a body, we have been inundated with reports that the trio of Akpobolokemi, Dudafa and Azibola were at the Yenagoa meeting in January 2015 where some ex-militants vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable if Jonathan lost the presidential election.

‘‘What are we seeing today? Is it not violence and renewed militancy? So we are going to find out the links they have with the so-called avengers before the issue of their bail could come up because we won’t compromise national security under any guise.

‘‘We were not merely playing to the gallery when we said officials of the past administration were possible sponsors. We have just started and why we can mention names to be quizzed is because they are already in our custody and we can’t mention others under surveillance so as not to jeopardize investigation,” he said.

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