- Former militant leader Asari Dokubo has appraised President Buhari’s administration, scoring it zero
- He asked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to stop visiting Ijaw land
- The former warlord said he never said there would be war if Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 election
- He noted that the federal government bribed people with what they call amnesty and that was why the Niger Delta people rejected it
Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari is the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Force, NDPSF, and one of the arrowheads in the struggle to redress perceived injustice in the Niger Delta. In this interview with Vanguard, he asserts that other ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta have climbed on the back of the Ijaw to benefit from the struggles waged by Ijaw groups and person. He also appraised the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and explains his stand on the recent overtures of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to stakeholders in the Niger Delta.
Conflict in the Niger Delta
I do not believe that there is conflict between the Niger Delta as a whole and the Nigeria state, but rather, it is between the Ijaw and the Nigerian state. Let us not say it is with the Niger Delta because when Ijaw people fight and die, a lot of these individuals come and claim benefit. When benefits come, they come out, but when Ijaw are fighting and dying, they sit in their houses and call us all sorts of names. We have never gone to their territory to look for their problem, we are in our land and doing what we think is right for ourselves.
If the Urhobo are not concerned by what is happening to their people, they do not have the right to abuse us because we have not gone to Urhobo land to go and disturb them, neither have we gone to Isoko land to disturb them. So when benefits come from these struggles, they should not also poke nose and become meddlesome.
Why we rejected the Federal Government Amnesty
For instance, government bribed people with what they call amnesty, some of us who were in the forefront said we would not take amnesty, we would not allow criminality to be attached to our names because we have not committed any crime, we did what was just and we refused to take amnesty.
But you see, somebody in Benin, who did nothing and who does not have oil or anything claiming that the Niger Delta amnesty was meant for Ijaw people – which Benin man, Urhobo man or Ogoni man carried gun? Why should they benefit from the suffering of the Ijaw people?
They call it Niger Delta struggle; personally, I was in the forefront of these agitations with bullet wounds on my body, I went to prison. I have never had a criminal conviction anywhere. I was well brought up, went to the best schools and I chose the path of my people. I have suffered and have been detained 74 times without conviction so when benefit comes, let these people stay in their respective places and leave the benefits for others. I did not take amnesty, so whatever concerns amnesty does not concern me.
No need for Osinbajo to be visiting Ijaw land
This jamboree by the vice president is funny. Are they our overlords or are we being colonized that they are coming to visit here and there? Don’t they know what is right?
The oil belongs to us; it does not belong to Nigeria. Ijaw oil belongs to us. If Itsekiri say their oil belongs to Nigeria, that is their business and if Urhobo say same of their oil, that is also their business and same applies to others. But we, Ijaw, are saying that Ijaw oil belongs to Ijaw, they should leave our oil alone. God put the oil there for us to develop ourselves, so there is no need for any Yoruba man called Osinbajo to be perambulating Ijaw land.
What is he perambulating about for in the Niger Delta? Don’t they know what is right? Okay, in trying to be good neighbours to others and share with them, are they the ones that would decide for us the percentage that we would give to them? Their groundnut, did they share their groundnut or give it to us? Which road was built in Ijaw land with groundnut money or with revenue gotten from cocoa?
So the thing is that this jamboree should stop, they know what is right and they should leave what is ours for us because they do not have the right to give it to us. That is the issue at stake and people are not addressing these issues as it should be addressed. So for me, they are only postponing the doomsday, they should do what is right because the oil of Ijaw people belong to them.
Appraisal of Buhari-led government
Is there anything to appraise in the Buhari led government? What is there to appraise? Can you multiply zero? If you multiply zero, what would it give you? From N200 a dollar during the time of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which was the highest, to a roving price of N450 per dollar to salary not being paid for months in all the states, this is a zero government and there is nothing to appraise.
That President left and the people are not allowed to know the reason their president left? That fuel price was increased from N87 per litre when Goodluck left office to N145, what is there to appraise? You can’t multiply zero by zero because if you do, what you get is zero, so this is a zero government.
I never said there would be war if Jonathan lost
Did anyone hear me say that? If there is nothing in the Niger Delta as they claim, why are they perambulating here? Watch that video where I was quoted to have made such statements properly and tell me where I was quoted to have said so. What I actually said was that if Goodluck win and they attack us, we would fight back, that was the statement we made, else, if there is peace in the region, why the perambulation?