Former militant leader Mujahid Asari Dokubo has said that Niger Delta militants will take up arms again and throw the country into chaos if President Jonathan is not re-elected for a second term in 2015.
Dokubo while addressing a news conference in Abuja at the weekend said the peace in the Niger Delta is because Jonathan is the president.
“I called this briefing because of events that are unfolding in the polity. Recently, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsely Kuku, made a statement in the United States of America, that the peace being enjoyed in the Niger Delta will not be guaranteed if President Goodluck Jonathan is not returned as President of Nigeria in 2015.
“This statement has been supported by several groups from the region. Also, the statement has been attracting reactions from several quarters, expectedly from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and others.
“I want to go on to say that, there will be no peace, not only in the Niger Delta, but everywhere if Goodluck Jonathan is not president by 2015, except God takes his life, which we don’t pray for.
“Jonathan has uninterrupted eight years of two terms to be president, according to the Nigeria constitution. We must have our uninterrupted eight years of two tenure, I am not in support of any amendment of the constitution that will reduce the eight years of two tenure that Goodluck Jonathan is expected to be president of Nigeria.”
“For very long time, our resources from the Niger Delta has been used to feed and fund Nigeria, and some people are still feeling that Nigeria is their personal property, and they can manage it the way they like, but those days are gone forever, it can never come back again,” Dokubo said.
As the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Dokubo coordinated a campaign of violence in the oil producing areas and led an arms struggle against the Federal Government for years in the past. Militant activities disrupted oil production in the Niger Delta for years until a Federal Government amnesty programme was instituted in 2009 by then-President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Last August, American newspaper Wall Street Journal reported that Dokubo was one of the beneficiaries of multi-billion naira oil pipeline protection contracts, for which the Federal Government is paying him N1.44 billion a year.
While not all of his account of life in the mangrove swamps could be verified, 49-year-old Dokubo was one of Nigeria’s best-known oil marauders.
About 26 years ago, the Journal said, Dokubo went to study guerrilla warfare in Libya during the time of the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi. He said he was given $100,000 to stir up trouble back in Nigeria, an oil competitor to Libya.
Fomenting conflict proved easy in the restive Niger Delta he returned to in the early 1990s. From a local governor, Mr. Dokubo said, he procured weapons and money to build a militia that ultimately was several thousand strong. For years, they broke open pipelines, filling canisters with crude oil and refining some of it through timeworn techniques used by locals to boil palm-tree sap into wine.
The government struggled to lure him out of the mangroves. Dokubo responded to one amnesty offer that he considered meager by announcing a death threat against petroleum workers. Shell evacuated hundreds of expatriates and oil derricks briefly slowed to a stop. The next day, oil prices hit $50 a barrel for the first time.
The Federal Government offered Dokubo a truce and $1,000 apiece for his AK-47 rifles, numbering 3,182, the Journal reported. He said he took the deal and used the profits to purchase more weapons and return to the swamp.
There, he was finally arrested and coerced into another round of negotiations. Fearing assassination, he fled to Cotonou, Benin, where he said he founded a school for Niger Delta children. He showed a video of him teaching kids kung fu at the school, the Wall Street Journal reported.
New warlords quickly took Dokubo’s place. Marauding under noms de guerre like Gen. Shoot-at-Sight, Gen. Africa and Gen. Young Shall Grow, they formed a loose confederation of gunmen calling itself the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, and crippled enough oil infrastructure to bring Nigeria’s production on some days to a near-halt. That was when Nigeria announced the 2009 amnesty.
Courtesy Daily Trust, Vanguard, Wall Street Journal
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