The Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta, (MEND) has said it stands by its decision to take all necessary steps to protect the image of Bayelsa state governor, Douye Diri, from what it called “criminal blackmail by mischief makers”.
The group said time has gone when people would hide under the guise of press freedom to tarnish others’ image, just as it warned that those who malign Diri would pay heavily for it.
MEND through its spokesman Commander Inetimi Godspower was reacting to an online news alleging that governor Diri had deployed its members to threaten Sahara Reporters and activist, Deji Adeyanju.
It could be recalled that the medium had last week accused the governor of an illicit affair with speaker of South African Parliament, Zanele Sifuba, a news shared by Adeyanju on his social media platform.
In a statement on Monday, MEND however asked for the immediate retraction of the said publication with an apology, saying it has instructed its lawyers to initiate legal action against Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and Adeyanju.
“It is infantile for a blackmailer-in-chief like Sahara Reporters to allege that His Excellency Douye Diri has deployed us to speak against their criminal behaviour.
“We want to make it clear that any action we can take to protect the image of our own will not be spared. This is not just a criminal defamation against Gov Diri but an attempt to bring the image of entire Ijaw nation under disrepute.
“When a self-acclaimed activist and reputable media organisation allow themselves to be used by mischievous political interests, you begin to wonder where lies their imaginary credibility.
“This would serve as a bitter lesson to other cash and carry activists and media organisations. Enough is enough,” the statement stated.