Since President Muhammadu Buhari took over from Dr Jonathan in May last year, the government has made fighting corruption its major priority. Several leading members of the Jonathan administration have been arrested by the EFCC and several are in court, especially with regards to the $2.1bn arms scandal.
According to the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, the EFCC is now planning the arrest Dr Jonathan. It has subsequently strongly warned the EFCC to bury its plan, adding that any attempt to arrest the former president will make the administration of President Buhari unworkable.
Speaking at the burial of a former Bayelsa State governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, IYC president Udengs Eradiri, said most of the close allies of Dr Jonathan had been arrested by the EFCC. He condemned the recent arrest and detention of Dr Jonathan’s cousin and contractor Robert Azibaola, over an alleged $40m contract fraud.
According to Mr Eradiri, Ijaw youths would not allow Mr Azibaola, Dr Jonathan or any rising Ijaw leader to be persecuted by the EFCC, the way the federal government dealt with the late Chief Alamieyeseigha. After being impeached, Chief Alamieyeseigha was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to prison.
Mr Eradiri said: "They have arrested almost all our people as Azibaola was arrested by the EFCC and we are calling on the EFCC to stop persecuting him further and charge him to court if there are issues. They detained him for a long time, forcing him to make statements to indict former President Jonathan.
"Azibaola is a businessman, a contractor and has the right, like every other Nigerian, to get contracts. Why will the Niger Delta case be a different one?"
He added that after Dr Jonathan left office, their people who contributed to that administration, are being persecuted by this government. According to Mr Eradiri, the latest ploy is to arrest Goodluck Jonathan, which is unfolding every day.
"This must stop as Goodluck Jonathan is the most performing president that Nigeria has ever had and we are proud of him. Every day, there is a calculated attempt to whittle down the achievements of former President Jonathan, so we call on Nigerians to mount pressure on the government to focus on leading Nigeria right rather than looking for ways to bring down the achievements of Jonathan.
“Buhari should please focus on governance rather than persecution of people who have added value. We are not happy about it and today, we use Alamieyeseigha’s death as a point of contact," Mr Eradiri added.
On the alleged removal of the 10% community equity from the new Petroleum Industry Bill, Mr Eradiri asked the government to do the needful. He added that the federal government ought to have known that community ownership would ameliorate the years of crises in the Niger Delta region.