Oil spillage, chronic poverty, and environmental destruction were said to have precipitated militancy in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Nevertheless, since 2003 when Asari Dokubo bragged to have staged combat against the federal government over these ills, the stated problems seem to have been on the rise.
Asari Dokubo – a Muslim from Ijaw in Rivers State – is an erstwhile president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IJC). In 2003, he formed Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), a group he claimed was birthed to fight for the people’s interest. But Asari was deceiving the people instead. NDPVF went fully into bunkering, kidnapping, and vandalism, revealing the true intention of its formation.
Under the dispensation of Musa Yar’adua, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan mediating, Asari Dokubo received a whopping annual cash payment of USD $10 million under the guise of Pipeline Security Fee. Now enriched on account of the blood of the fallen NDPVF members, Asari headed to the Benin Republic to build schools, soccer academies, and a range of other businesses. By these investments, the one who claimed to be fighting for Ijaw people provided employment for the citizens of Benin Republic, leaving his own people to wallow in unemployment. If Asari is truly a freedom fighter as he loves to claim, and is concerned about the stated problems in Ijaw land, why then did he establish his business empire in Benin Republic and not Ijaw land?
The rift between him and Ateke Tom’s Niger Delta Vigilantes (NDV) over who will control the bunkering routes saw many of our people dead. During that time (2003-2004), Asari who is now baselessly accusing the supreme leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, of killing one Prophet Anthony Nwoko, killed as many of his people as he could. Innocent civilians were shot dead by NDPVF. Asari burned down buildings, took people hostage, and unleashed untold calamity on the land, forcing schools and other economic activities to shut down.
Today, although he tries to deny in public his political links, his rapport with the ruling cabal of APC cannot be overemphasized. Just as his close associate, Raphael Uwazuruike, defrauded people with MASSOB, Asari Dokubo used NDPVF for his personal gains. He is a contract politician often hired to do the dirty jobs of bigwigs but likes to fancy himself as a freedom fighter.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media