Emerging evidence directly links former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife and some of their associates with the bombing of oil and gas installations by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in the last several months, top government sources have told SaharaReporters.
Quoting intelligence reports on the bombings, one source disclosed that they established that some of the oil installations bombed in the Niger Delta had actually been mined just before the 2015 election by some of the militants and operatives known to be very close to President Jonathan. The mining was meant to be a "Plan B” should they be removed from Aso Rock.
Mr. Jonathan denied reports of any knowledge of NDA or its plans.
A key element in the intelligence reports that are now in the hands of the federal government, includes the full list of all those that were trained and equipped in the relevant skills under the Amnesty Program.
The pre-election mining plan, our source said, was to cause confusion if the 2015 presidential election did not go in favor of the incumbent. However, when the former president surprisingly conceded the election to President Muhammadu Buhari, there was both disappointment and confusion in the camp of those who had designed the plan, causing what became a temporary suspension of the whole agenda.
By February 2016, the plan was reopened as several of its original backers were getting investigated in different corruption cases. The former President himself was concerned that he and his wife could be prosecuted, including on money-laundering charges where, informed sources said, evidence against Mrs. Patience Jonathan had already been amassed.
It was at that point that the bombing activities, under the banner of the NDA, started. Even the former President himself had been reported while on a foreign trip as saying he knew he was under probe. That, according to the intelligence reports, was after the plan to start the bombing had become fully operational.
At about the same time the Niger Delta Governors had a meeting on the situation with the presidency, Mr. Jonathan was quoted as saying, “Obviously, I will be investigated. I am being investigated. Yes, investigations are going on."
After Plan B was restored, the "militant operatives" who had mined the oil and gas installations only had to arrange for how the bombs would be detonated at a distance, in line with the wishes and timing of the NDA, their backers and sponsors that are said to include Mr. Jonathan, his wife, Government Tompolo, Mr. Kinglsey Kuku and Olisa Metuh.
The mining was done by some of the militants that the previous government had trained under the amnesty program; persons who had the requisite expertise, in addition to knowledge of the Niger Delta creeks and terrain. Experts working with the federal government are now said to be working to determine how to establish if there are still oil and gas installations that were pre-mined, and the best means of demining them.
According to the intelligence reports, the NDA and their backers and operatives also had the capacity to dive in and out of water to damage or bomb various installations.
The game plan of the former President and his associates backing NDA was to cause enough economic damage to soften the Buhari administration to pursue a political solution to the damaging corruption cases against them for which investigations were already advanced, and thereby avoid prosecution and the attendant unprecedented shame of having a former president go to jail.
Some of the sources said one of the real reasons Jonathan visited Aso Rock earlier this month was because he was afraid for himself, but more importantly for his wife, against whom discreet investigations are known to be significantly advanced.
It would be recalled that in June, during a meeting between the Niger Delta Governors, Security Chiefs and the Presidency over the bombing activities in the Niger Delta, some of the governors openly asked that the corruption cases being investigated concerning some of the past office holders from the region should be discontinued as a means of facilitating the restoration of peace in the Niger Delta.
It would be recalled that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) recently alleged that Mr. Jonathan was actually the originator of the name “Avengers”, for the NDA, a claim that he has not yet denied.
Nonetheless, the intelligence reports confirm that it was the intervention of Mr. Jonathan that stopped the militants from declaring a republic earlier this month, as previously announced.