A recent online publication had alleged that a splinter group, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers had claimed Senator Akpabio and other eminent Nigerians were the sponsors of the group.
But a release signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Senate Minority Leader, Mr Anietie Ekong described the publication as “baseless, reckless and senseless. It is a fabrication from the pit of hell from those who are profiteering from the crisis in the Niger Delta and would wish no end to it.”
According to the press statement, “for the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that Senator Akpabio has no link with the Niger Delta Avengers or any other militant group for that matter.
“Contrarily, the position of Senator Akpabio as a foremost advocate of dialogue in resolving the Niger Delta crisis is well known. He is of the strong belief that blowing up pipelines and causing further environmental pollution of the Niger Delta is not in the interest of the region as it would take over 100 years to remediate the effects of such environmental degradation.
“Neither does he believe that economic sabotage at a time of economic recession that the nation is presently passing through can be an answer to the Niger Delta problem.
“His abhorrence of violence in conflict resolution is legendary. Therefore it beats our imagination why anybody in a right frame of mind would contemplate associating his name with militancy and degradation of a region he had laboured so much to build while serving as Governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015.
“Coming from Sahara Reporters, we take it as one in a series of falsehood they have fabricated against Senator Akpabio. We recall the national uproar which followed a similar concoction on December 10, 2015 when Sahara Reporters “authoritatively confirmed” that Senator Akpabio had been sacked from the Senate by an Appeal Court which had not even delivered its judgment at the time of the publication. It turned out to be a hoax when the election of Senator Akpabio was later upheld by the Appeal Court,” the statement said.
It cautioned that politicizing the Niger Delta crisis through propaganda will amount to an ill wind that will blow nobody any good.
“Rather what the nation needs is concerted efforts by stakeholders to holistically through dialogue address the grievances of the region which luckily President Muhammadu Buhari has already started,” it concluded