By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€” Repentant militant leaders, who allegedly broke ranks with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, have thrown their weight behind the Federal Government’s anti- graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The ex-militant leaders also expressed support for Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, saying he has demonstrated â€œintegrity and commitment in steering the ship of state in the absence of ailing President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua.â€
A statement by the ex-militants signed by one Tamuno-Bele Augustine, and made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, faulted the claims of ex-militant leader, Africa Ukparaosia, that they were in the monthly payroll of Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva.
According to him, no genuine MEND ex-fighter was ready to go back to the creeks.
He said their struggle was for the â€œdevelopment of the region and not in defence of those misusing public funds meant for the development of the region.â€
The statement said in part: â€œLet me be categorical that no MEND leader in Bayelsa State has received a kobo from anybody. The public should not be deceived by ‘General’ Africaâ€¦How many of MEND ex-fighters are building houses or have enough to rent an apartment in the state capital?â€
They declared that Africa was being â€œsponsored by unrecognized politicians to say all sorts of things in the media that Sylva pays ex-militants in Bayelsa State.â€
The ex-militants urged Sylva to focus on development of the state and work towards poverty reduction, as the people were crying out over the hardship in the state.
They also raised alarm that â€œBayelsa State was being held hostage by criminals and as such MEND has started doubting the plans of Sylva to empower and reintegrate ex-militants into the society.â€
It would be recalled that Africa had in a paid advertorial in a national daily, warned that ex-militants would resist, with the last drop of their blood, attempts by the EFCC to harass Sylva in the on-going investigations into alleged fraud and diversion of public funds in the state.