They also advised Nigerians not to allow themselves to be held captive by men with unprecedented capacity for lies, mischief and treachery.
The leaders in a statement in Yenagoa described as malicious and devilish the campaign of calumny against Akpabio.
“Sensationalism is not an admirable feature of excellent journalism. We find the purport of the news story entitled;” Exclusive: How EFCC detained Godswill Akpabio for two hours after attempting to bribe agency chairman with $350,000” as misleading”
The leaders condemned critics of Akpabio for degenerating into abuses, lies and wild allegations.
They alleged that some individuals are spreading untrue tales against Akpabio and NDDC.
“Some individuals are stepping up their covert and overt moves to cause confusion in the country. Miscreants have been recruited to insult and blackmail the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs”
The comments by Comrade Damian Nwikinaka of the Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition on the forensic audit in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) also drew fierce criticism from the South-South leaders.
The leaders described the utterances of Nwikinaka as reckless, ridiculous, unbelievable, disgusting, inaccurate and insulting.
“Nwikinaka has consciously and definitely shown disdain for the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio”
The statement signed by the Chairman of South-South Front (SSF), Chief John Harry refuted some of the distractions spewing from unguarded quarters in the country, saying those behind them do not wish the Niger Delta region well.
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“Chief Godswill Akpabio is against forms of behaviors that are alien to or subversive of the rule of law” the leaders said.
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The leaders apart from drawing attention to the orchestrated campaign of hate, slander and witch-hunting being undertaken by some individuals and their sponsors commended Akpabio for enhancing the prestige of peoples of the Niger Delta region.
“Chief Godswill Akpabio should not be a subject of undue attack. He should be celebrated for changing the face of the region” they said.
The leaders condemned other misleading stories sponsored by the enemies of the region to push their selfish agenda and justify unrealistic conclusions about Akpabio.
They praised President Muhammadu Buhari for developing the region.
“Chief Godswill Akpabio is a politician with a conscience. He will continue to incur envy, malice and hatred from those who see perfidy as a virtue in politics” they said”
They also urged Nigerians to ignore the shenanigans of these individuals.
“Chief Godswill Akpabio shall not be distracted in his God assigned role of developing the Niger Delta region through sound policies” they said.