Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has expressed dismay over unverified posts in the social media linking him to sponsorship of political thugs ahead of the botched presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled for February 16.
A Facebook user had in a post at the weekend, alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat in Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State was attacked by thugs aided by Dokubo, a few hours to the postponement of the elections.
But in a swift reaction, the presidential adviser dismissed the allegation as barefaced falsehood concocted by vicious mercenaries of the opposition PDP to mischievously draw sympathy and incite vulnerable youths in the area to unleash mayhem before, during or after the rescheduled election in the face of its imminent defeat.
Dokubo said in a statement on Sunday that he was at Abonnema, his hometown on the eve of the election which was postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to perform a civic obligation of casting his vote, and had no business with any political thug.
“I arrived Abonnema on Friday evening to enable me cast my vote the next day, before the election was postponed. But I was shocked when my attention was drawn to a post on social media alleging that I aided thugs to attack the PDP secretariat at Abonnema. This is a wicked and dangerous lie as I had no dealing with any thug and didn’t step out of my residence in my brief stay in the community. But for the presence of my security men, my residence would have been attacked over a false alarm”.
He however noted that verbal missiles fired at him by opposition elements were expected, considering President Muhammadu Buhari’s rising popularity in the Niger Delta region based on his developmental footprints through the Presidential Amnesty Programme. “The Niger Delta people are with President Buhari because they are reaping the gains of Amnesty Programme since I came on board. With Mr. President’s support and determination, we were able to commission a world-class vocational training centre for our beneficiaries at Agadagba-Obon, Ondo State recently.
A few days later, we commenced distribution of starter packs to residents of communities impacted by crises in the Niger Delta; commissioned a liaison office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and also performed foundation laying ceremony for another vocational training centre of the Amnesty Programme at Gelegele, Edo State. All these we did within a period of two weeks, and it has endeared Mr. President to the Niger Delta people. So, the opposition is jittery of an imminent defeat and therefore doing everything to cause chaos. The allegation of sponsoring thugs at Abonnema against me is a step in this direction”.
Dokubo warned against blackmail, incitement and politicization of the Presidential Amnesty Programme which he said, was set up with a mandate to sustain peace and security in the Niger Delta to pave way for its development. “The Amnesty Programme is not for me but for the people of Niger Delta, and every Niger Deltan should benefit from it either directly or indirectly. Therefore, we should not play politics with Amnesty and I should not be falsely accused just because and I am Coordinator of the Programme”.
In a related development, the Niger Delta Progressive Movement (NDPM), has flayed attempts at linking Prof. Dokubo to violence and sponsorship political thuggery, warning political jobbers in the act to look elsewhere.
NDPM chairman, Chief Emene Akpoutu said yesterday in Abuja, that Dokubo’s antecedents in enthroning peace and conflict resolution in the Niger Delta was among the reasons for his appointment by President Buhari as Special Adviser on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme.
“As an erudite professor of international repute, considering his background and pedigree, it is malicious for anyone to suggest or accuse Dokubo of aiding thugs to attack the secretariat of the PDP. This is a man with high religious and moral standards, and to attempt dragging his hard earned reputation in the mud for cheap political gains is nonsensical and unfortunate”.