Timi Alaibe, former presidential adviser on the Niger Delta, has denied claims by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that he contacted their emissary over the nomination of Odein Ajumogobia as a negotiator.

MEND had nominated Ajumogobia to be on the team to negotiate with the federal government to end renewed militants activities in the oil-producing region.

But Ajumogobia rejected the nomination, claiming he did not know the militants and could therefore not represent them.

But in another twist, MEND issued a statement on Friday claiming that Ajumogobia practically begged to represent MEND, further alleging that Alaibe knew about Ajumogobia’s “desperation”.

Alaibe issued this denial on Saturday.

My attention has been drawn to a statement purportedly issued by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wherein the author spuriously and rather incoherently claimed that I contacted a MEND “emissary” to “confirm the authenticity” of the supposed nomination of Mr. Henry Odein Ajumogobia, SAN, to lead a team MEND is said to have proposed to negotiate on its behalf with the Federal Government.

I seek to clarify that this is not true. I do not know any emissary of MEND and so could not have contacted any.  Like most other Nigerians, I learnt of the purported nomination of Mr Ajumogobia into the MEND negotiation team on the pages of newspapers and on the social media. I did not (and still do not) have any compelling need to “confirm the authenticity” of Mr. Ajumogobia’s purported nomination into this team. Of course I have similarly read on the pages of newspapers that Mr. Ajumogobia has turned down his purported nomination by MEND into this negotiation team.

My desire for the entrenchment of sustainable peace, safety, security and development in the Niger Delta is unassailable but this should not give any person or persons the license to mischievously drop my name in ways that are not likely to help achieve any meaningful or desired developmental goals in the zone. I consider the insertion of my name in that statement purportedly issued by MEND as mischievous and clearly intended to sully my reputation. I strongly condemn this and warn whoever is behind this to desist forthwith.

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