The Presidency has denied reports that President Goodluck Jonathan sent the presidential jet to convey the militant Ijaw leader Mujahid Asari-Dokubo from Benin Republic to Nigeria. Dokubo was arrested on Tuesday in Benin Republic for unconfirmed reasons but was unexpectedly released yesterday.
Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, told LEADERSHIP that the report of a presidential jet to bring back Dokubo is another attempt by mischief makers to play politics with facts.
"I can tell you that President Jonathan did not send any presidential jet to Benin Republic. Or has Asari-Dokubo told anybody that he was brought to Nigeria in a presidential jet? So what is this all about? Blackmail and mischief obviously", he said.
Abati wondered why such falsehood should be told when it is common knowledge an aircraft does not fly like a ghost in the air, adding that routine movement by any aircraft usually undergoes proper documentation, even as they are being seen landing at the airport.
The presidential spokesman said, "There is no truth in the report that a presidential jet was used to convey Asari-Dokubo. Again, what we see here is the attempt by people to just tell lies and try to package lies as the truth for gullible Nigerians to believe.
"I have read some reports in which they said 'unconfirmed reports indicate...' Nobody has been able to say anything categorically and I think it is very sad that people, in an attempt to just play politics with anything at all, will start packaging lies hoping that gullible persons will believe them. Nobody can come up with any evidence that any presidential jet was sent to Benin Republic."
Reports were rife especially in the social media that President Jonathan pressured the Beninoise authorities to release Dokubo and sent the presidential jet to bring him back to Nigeria.
However, Dokubo's lawyer, Festus Keyamo, refused to comment on how his client was released and how he got back to Nigeria.
Dokubo is reported to own a university in Benin Republic and had promised to make the Francophone country his home.