– The faceoff between Patience Jonathan and the EFCC caused a split between the militants and the MEND
– This may threaten negotiations between the militants and the federal government as Avengers support former first lady while the MEND backs EFCC

Patience Jonathan and Magu

The fresh allegations against the ex-first lady Patience Jonathan brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may frustrate the peace talks between Niger Delta militants and the government.

The faceoff has split militant groups in the oil-rich region, Sun News reports.
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had agreed to allow key Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark to lead negotiating team with the Nigerian authorities on the resurgence of militancy in the region.

Meanwhile, fresh reports disclosed that the issue of the former first lady showed that the two groups supported two different parties the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC).

While the Avengers are said to be supporting Mrs. Jonathan, MEND are actively supporting the anti-graft agency in its quest to nail the former first lady.

MEND in the recent statement announced withdrawal of one of its appointees for negotiations Timipa Jenkins Okonipere because of his support for the wife of the former president.

Okonipere’s law firm, who is believed to be one of the group’s sponsors, First Law Solicitors had written an open letter to the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu giving it 14 days to unfreeze her accounts.

“MEND is not happy that Timipa Jenkins Okonipere is working for Mrs. Jonathan. His support for Mrs. Jonathan who the MEND’s sponsors want the EFCC to nail is what made them to remove Okonipere from the Clark committee,” the source said.

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However, further investigations have disclosed that Okonipere is ready to work with the Niger Delta groups to ensure that Mrs. Jonathan is not humiliated and embarrassed by the anti-graft agency.

According to the sources, Okonipere will soon file the petition submitted to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, Banjul, Gambia to address the breach of Mrs. Jonathan’s fundamental human rights.

It is the next stage as his 14 days ultimatum expired last Sunday, October 2.

The MEND quoting the need for the region to forge a common front in the proposed negotiations last month pledged its allegiance to the Edwin Clark negotiation team.

The movement had earlier threatened to pull out of the negotiations aimed at ending the spate of vandalism of infrastructure in the oil-rich region.

The attacks of the militant groups caused a significant loss of oil revenue.