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Nigeria: Protests against Alaibe politically motivated, says Ateke Tom

Ateke Tom, a leader of the Niger Delta militants,has described last week’s protest in Abuja by militants as politically motivated and consequently asked President Goodluck Jonathan to probe the incident.

In a statement, Ateke alleged that conspiracy and political vendetta inspired by the power tussle in Bayelsa may be behind the invasion of the nation’s capital last Wednesday by protesting youths from the state claiming to be ex-militants.

Alleging that the invasion was politically motivated, Ateke equally raised questions bordering on security and logistics of the invasion.

He wondered how hundreds of protesting youths travelled in a convoy of luxury buses from Bayelsa State before finally being intercepted a few kilometers into the city centre of the nation’s capital.

Tom, a leader of the Movement for Emancipation of Niger-Delta (MEND) had also dismissed the claim that the protesting youths were genuine Niger Delta Freedom fighters, and urged Jonathan to institute a probe into the circumstances that led to the “unwarranted invasion of Abuja.”

According to him, “How can one explain the ease with which hundreds of misguided youths who were probably armed, travelled in a convoy of luxury buses all the way from Bayelsa State to Abuja. Who funded the trip? Who accommodated them in Abuja?”

He hinted about the conspiracy by certain highly placed persons in some states in the Niger-Delta to sabotage the amnesty programme, arguing that the whole drama was like a political war of sorts, scripted and sponsored by politicians plotting against Chief Timi Alaibe, the special adviser to the President on Niger-Delta.

Ateke who submitted that all genuine agitators and freedom fighters in the Niger-Delta disarmed, submitted such arms and ammunition to the Federal Government and were properly documented denied that any misunderstanding existed between them and Chief Alaibe as alleged by the protesting youths.

He affirmed that Alaibe, had the full backing of all the leaders of the Niger-Delta ex-militants.

“We have absolute trust in the ability and capacity of Chief Alaibe to follow through the post-amnesty process to a logical conclusion,” Tom affirmed in the press statement issued in Abuja.