Thursday, 20 June 2013
Dokubo Asari: Boko Haram, Goodluck Jonathan and Me
Mujahid Asari Dokubo, the boisterous leader of Niger Delta Volunteer Force, has declared that he is not linked with the Boko Haram sect, even as he admitted meeting the sect’s deceased leader, Mohammed Yusuf, at the group’s mosque in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.
Mr. Dokubo made the disclosures in a rambling letter he wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan detailing his conversion to Islam, his activism, and his feelings about the Presidency. SaharaReporters obtained a copy of the letter which is riddled with grammatical errors.
A source close to Mr. Dokubo told SaharaReporters that the former Niger Delta militant turned millionaire government apologist felt pressured to issue the statement in anticipation of a report in the US-based Wall Street Journal to the effect that the Jonathan administration had been paying millions of dollars to Mr. Dokubo and other erstwhile Niger Delta militants. Our source revealed that Mr. Dokubo’s lengthy letter was a tacit reaction to accusations some anonymous informants leveled against him to associates of President Jonathan. “Asari found out that some informants told aides of the president that he, Asari, has no following on ground in the Niger Delta and that he secretly sympathizes with Boko Haram.
In the statement, Mr. Dokubo said he met the slain founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, in 1995/1996 during his quest for Islamic studies, for which he said he converted 23 years ago.
In the letter to President Jonathan, Mr. Dokubo accused some interests of conspiring to get him arrested in connection with Boko Haram’s violent activities. SaharaReporters gathered that some Ijaw youths wrote to Mr. Jonathan and security agencies alleging that Mr. Dokubo maintains connections with extremist Islamist organizations.
Mr. Dokubo wrote: “It is very clear that the sponsors of this group want to link me to the so-called Boko Haram sect, as their founder, financier and sponsor…to give a reason for the government of the Nigerian State to arrest me and throw me back into detention pending when full investigation of my supposed involvement with the group is completed. It is to generate bad blood between me and the aides of President Goodluck Jonathan who, according to the open letter action and inaction have been responsible for the upsurge in the activities of the group, that if they had allowed me access to the president, maybe, the security situation would have been mitigated.
“That the President has not allowed me access to him, I and others in the IYC, and other struggle platforms have different avenues of reaching those in authorities without having to see any particular individual in person, ours is to give sound advice to those who have benefited from our painful sacrifices and found themselves in government, but we would not do this in the public or on the pages of newspapers. To us, the protection of the little gains we have made is greater than our individual gains, interests and access to those in power.
“Even though I did not supported the so-called amnesty deal, I have seen that it has brought some benefits which were hitherto not available to the people of the Niger Delta. I therefore appeal to the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, to remove the criminal tag from this program, by making it a general program for all the combatants in the Niger Delta region who are willing to participate and derive benefit from the program. It will also lead to the end, in the continuous agitation by youth from the region that feels that they have been shortchanged by not being allowed to be involved in the program.
“Also, I want to state that in my course of travels and detention, I have met members of the Jama’atu ahlus Sunnah Lid da’wati wal Jihad, erroneously referred to as Boko Haram. I met the late Malam Mohammed Yusuf, at the Indimi Mosque in Maiduguri in 1995/1996 in my stay in Maiduguri in the course of my Islamic studies. I was also brought and detained at the State Security Service (SSS) headquarters underground detention center and put in a cell where Yusuf was detained in, a few days before my arrival.
“During my stay in the detention, I interacted with other members of the organization who were also detained in other cells. That is the only close contact I have had with members of the organization. My views and relationship with the northern elite and political establishment is well known. I have never pretended or be diplomatic in stating the obvious fact and it will be totally inconceivable to have recruited northern youths into the IYC and NDPVF when most northerners view these organizations as anti north and therefore fighting against the political, economic and social survival of the north. Finally, I will advice members of this body and their sponsors to please find something better to direct their energy and time into and leave me out of their satanic intrigues.”
Below is the full content of Mr. Dokubo’s letter to Mr. Jonathan dated August 19, 2012:
My attention has been drawn to a sponsored advertorial titled: “Open Letter to Mr. President, Security Situation in Nigeria Today,” by a group who styled itself The Council of Ijaw Youth for the Unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (COIYN).
Even though I have no relationship with this body, the sponsors of this body have chosen to make me their undeserved patron because the whole gamut of the open letter to the president was on my person, which to them was so important in resolving the political quagmire that presently confronts the government of President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan and the Nigerian state. Also contained in the publication are outright lies, misrepresentation of facts and thoughts manufactured from the figment of the imagination of the sponsors of the group. Under the subheading, The Current Situation-Our Position on the Genesis:
The group said: “The ascension of an Ijaw youth of Islamic faith as President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), a few years ago, may have attracted enormous goodwill and support from the global Islamic community, through vey prominent and high net worth individuals and some Islamic donor agencies and thus, some support from the northern Nigerian youths who joined the IYC in the struggle for self determination.”
I hereby make these clarifications:
I, Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari, am a Muslim, and have been a Muslim for the past 23 years…Insha Allah; I will live and die as a Muslim. I have no apology to render to any individual or group of individuals for being a Muslim…this is the only truth contained in the whole open letter.
That during my presidency at the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), that my position attracted goodwill from global Islamic community, prominent Muslim individuals, Islamic donor agencies and support from northern Nigerian youth who joined the IYC in the struggle for self determination…these are absolute lies, manufactured from the figment of the imagination of the sponsors of this group.
As President of IYC, I received no support whatsoever financially or otherwise from any Islamic group or individuals.
No northern youth joined the IYC as the constitution of the IYC provides that only Ijaw youths within certain age bracket can be members of IYC.I also want to state further that even as the leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), no Muslim from outside the Niger Delta region joined, participated or funded the activities of the NDPVF.
Contained further in the open letter, is that after the award of the Nigerian State amnesty to all manners of individuals they tagged militants involved in the struggle for the Niger Delta, these northern youth, I purportedly brought into Niger Delta struggle for self determination became stranded as they were left out of the amnesty deal…this is not only preposterous, but beats all rational thinking, as both the NDPVF and IYC rejected and did not partake in the amnesty.
The NDPVF went further to institute a suit against the Government of the Nigerian State in 2009 at the Federal High Court Abuja, asking the court to annul the amnesty awarded by the government as the President (Umaru Musa Yar’Adua) does not have such power under the 1999 Constitution and the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to award amnesty to individuals who have not been convicted on criminal charges in any court of competent jurisdiction. It will then be hypocritical on my part to reject the said amnesty and encourage others to accept same.
Furthermore, my support for the Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan is greater and larger than Goodluck Jonathan himself. Those who know where we are coming from, know the pains, deprivation and exclusion we as Ijaws and people of the Niger Delta, were subjected to…that since 1956 when Nigeria was awarded self governance by her British colonial overlords, the Ijaws and most of the people of the Niger Delta, have been excluded and barred from participating in the so-called self governance project, even though it is resources gotten from our wealth that is used to service and maintain the machinery of this project.
Therefore, it is very trivial for anybody or group to think that my support for Goodluck Jonathan has anything to do with my person. As I stated above, Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency is the collective fulfillment of the aspiration of the people of the Niger Delta to have a say in their affairs and how they are governed…my not gaining access to Goodluck Jonathan as president or otherwise, will not affect my support for him or his government, as stated above in the first place, he was not the reason for my support of the project to make him president.”