Nigeria: Dokubo-Asari Writes Niger Delta People
Nigeria: Dokubo-Asari Writes Niger Delta People
*Says God is with us
Akanimo Sampson, Port Harcourt
DETAINED Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), a militia group, has written the peoples of Nigeria's oil and gas region on a number of national issues, including the worrisome spate of insecurity in the Niger Delta. He, however, assured the people that God was in their support since they are locked in a liberation struggle.
The letter which was wired to our correspondent on Monday, reads:
Fellow compatriots and comrades in the struggle for the emancipation and liberation of the Ijaw and Niger Delta peoples and territories, I will not like to bother you with the history events that brought us to this sorrow state in which we find ourselves. As we are all aware of the activities, commissions and omission of the British imperialist, adventurist, and colonialist hegemony that deceitfully, criminally and forcefully conscripted us into what is today known as Nigeria. Since the unfortunate event, many and individuals have questioned the propriety of the British forcing us into a union that is not acceptable to any one of us. For we are all aware that at this moment none of us regard ourselves as Nigerians we are Ijaws, Ibibios, Itsekeris, Ogonis, Nupes Hausa, Kanuris, Yorubas, Igbos etc. what is actually keeping Nigeria today is the unjust misappropriation of the resources of the Ijaws and the Niger Delta people without these resources Nigeria would have been by-gone.
THE STRUGGLES OF ISAAC ADAKA BORO
ISAAC JASPER ADAKA BORO, who we celebrate today has become the eternal symbol of the quest by the Ijaws and Niger Delta peoples to reclaim their sovereignty dignity and self esteem when in 1966 Isaac Boro declared the Niger Delta republic and fought to defend our independence for twelve days, he did it with good and genuine intentions for the general good of the people. He put his life and those of his other volunteers and compatriots on the line for the sole purpose of his struggle was to restore back to the Ijaws and the Niger Delta people their sovereignty, independence, freedom, liberation and dignity. He was ideologically committed to the greatest good for his people believing that only the struggle and the sacrifice occasioned by it can bring joy and happiness to the homes of the Ijaws and Niger Delta territories. For this he was ready to pay the supreme price and he did pay the supreme price. As we celebrate these memories, we should remember the very essence, mission, and objective of what he stood for.
MY PRESENT TRAVAILES
From the very first day I read Ambaka Deremo’s play on Isaac Boro and the “twelve day” Revolution, I instantly adopted Boro as my role model and decided to walk the path he has thronged. For this, I have no regrets, firmly committing myself that whether I am in prison, suffer pains, injured or even killed, I will not abandon or jettison the struggle. When General Olusegen Obansanjo, the maxima ruler of the Nigerian state, unjustly arrested me on the 29th of September 2005, he greatly underestimated the power of the people to resist my arrest and detention. Today General Olusegun Obansanjo bedaubed by his hubris and destructive arrogance cannot admit that he has made a fatal mistake which will lead to the death and decomposition of the satanic and evil Nigerian state. Today, I am in the valley of the shadow of death but I fear no evil trusting in the Almighty that the struggle for which I am unjustly detained is a just one.
Since my arrest on the 20th of September 2005, General Olusegun Obansanjo has cruelly kept me in eight detention centres. The worst of this experience is my present state of which I am kept in solitary confinement in an underground dungeon in the state security service headquarters in Abuja where I am denied access to my personal physician, lawyers, relations and friends. I am not even allowed to practice my religion as prescribed by the Koran (the suna of the prophet (SWS)) and the Sharia of Islam. However, my condition is even better than that of the other detainees underground cells, there are other Ijaw and Niger Delta people who have been brought under chains and kept for months without trials Amongst them was my younger cousin, Abiye Harry, who was arrested ten day after he returned from South Africa and detained for more than two months without trial on suspicion that he went to South Africa to make contacts.
Furthermore, my health has fast deteriorated because of the condition under which I am detained. Lately, I find it difficult to retain any fluid in my system as the frequency of my urination ranges from fifty to seventy times a day. Even then, the authorities of state security service on strict instructions from General Olusegun Obasanjo, has continued to deny me access top my personal physicians and proper medical attention.
I must also add that since my arrest, Ijaw and Niger Delta people in the government and service of the Nigerian state and others have approached me with suggestions that I should beg General Olusegun Obansanjo and make compromises by promising to abandon the struggle for which I have dedicated my life to, so that I could regain my liberty and freedom, but I have constantly refused. Instead, I have chosen to remain in detention. For me, whether I am on the streets, creeks, or village square of the Ijaw and the Niger Delta territories, it is the same as being detained in the dungeon of General Olusegun Obansanjo, regular maxima of the Nigerian state as long as we do not have our political freedom
THE PRESENT STATE OF EVENTS IN THE NIGER DELTA
As I said above, the struggle of Isaac Adaka Boro was for the good of our people but today the unfolding scenario in the Ijaw and Niger Delta territories have come to convince me that reactionaries and counter-revolutionary elements have hijacked and diverted the struggle from its original course to a destination that will not be in the best interest of our people.
HOSTAGE TAKING: the seizure of persons representing the political and economic intuitions of the occupation forces oppressors in any occupation conquered and colonized territory is a powerful tool to wrest enormous political and economic concessions from the oppressive occupation and colonial forces. In most places like Palestine, Lebanon, Northern Ireland and amongst the communist/Marxist revolutionary parties of Latin America and Asia. It has served as an effective tool for the release of captured and detained members of the various progressive and revolutionary movement and parties. It has even led to major political concessions leading to the negotiation tables for the final settlement of the fundamental issues at stake in such countries as Nicaragua, Peru, Vietnam, Guatemala etc. In our case what have we turned this effective and noble tool into? We turned it into a conduit pipe leading to easy money extortion and blackmail to satisfy our rabid greed. This has discredited and debased our struggle. It is therefore pertinent for us to reflect on the issues that inspired Isaac Boro to take up arms against the occupation Nigerian force. The underlying fact is that it was a genuine aspiration to restore back dignity. Today we waste valuable lives for the sole purpose of satisfying our insatiable greed. Nobody takes us serious anymore. Whenever we take hostages, they say leave the, “when we give them money them go leave them”. Even we are not ashamed. We boast to others who refuse to join our banditry and criminality that we are in the struggle when we are actually the enemies of our people, struggle and territory. We will stand condemned in this world and in the hereafter, if we do not turn away from the path of disgrace, shame and destruction.
We should all revert our minds back to the period between Oct 2003 and Sept 30 2004, when we engaged the Nigerian State, her military and her hired mercenaries in the struggle to stop both the federal Government and Rivers State Government from the violating the rights of our people and stealing our mandate during the general elections of 2003, our camps such as Okporuta, Orubase Ekuone, Russia were centers of interception between we other blacks and expatriate workers. They were not even afraid to hide our headquarters at Agba-ama camp Boro they were so free with us that they reported to us conflicts and disputers which occur between them and their host communities which in most cases we settled amicably. We never had any cause to resort to hostage taking even when we hijacked their boats for our activities, we returned them after use. We treated them kindly and fairly. Our testimonials can be combated by any of the multinational scamp operating in the territories under our control. There was only one sad incidence of hostage taking by our brother from Buguma and we sanctioned by barring them from participating in our activities, even though they constituted the best crop of our fighters and as such when we went to Okirika on the 28th of August, they did not join us in that famous operation tagged “operation fiberesima” how have we degenerated and deviated from them the path of nobility, honour and dignity?
The struggle has totally lost focus. Today, as we celebrate Boro day, many have even taken the name and memory of their great soul to 419 and extort money from government corporate organization and individuals. What a sham! Do we need to rubbish and desecrate all our sacred icons for a few pieces silver? The Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force which by the grace of God I am still the leader, is an organization with a strong bias against corruption, ideological prostitution and political moral bankruptcy. If you want to continue to claim to be part of us, you must urgently read our mission statement and give effect to it in your lives and behaviour. By our rules, we will denounce you. There is no longer any room for “we no go chop?” We are not your parents, relations or a chartable organization and an employment agency. You cannot force yourself on us and insist that you must be part of us when you are not ready to abide by our rules. We will not allow you to put sand in our garri. Enough is enough or you would be shown the way out.
A PLEA TO IJAW AND NIGER DELTA PEOPLE IN DIASPORA
Most struggles for the liberation of occupied territories are led by persons in Diaspora. The PLO for instance had its headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon and later in Tunis in Tunisia. The ANC in Darussalam in Tanzania. Brothers and sisters, the victory for the struggle for the liberation of our people can only be realized if you seize this opportunity and organized yourselves into a vanguard for the propagation of the fundamental issues at stake in our quest for the restoration of our independence and dignity. We urge you to embrace their historic and epoch moment in one struggle by setting up a government in EXILE and work for the recognition of this government as the authentic government and representative of the Ijaw and Niger Delta territories if Darfur can hold the world spell bound how much more the vast rich Ijaw and Niger Delta territories. Brothers we are at a threshold. This is the very moment, seize it and bring freedom to our people.
STATE OF THE NIGERIAN STATE
One cannot build an edifice on quick sand. The very foundation of the Nigerian State is fraudulent dubious and criminal. Therefore it will be hypocritical and naïve for any body to expect that the Nigerian State will have a sustainable strong and virile democratic institution that will stand the test of time. Be that as it may, one still expect a modide of decorum and civility from a self acclaimed international statesmen and benevolent dictator, General Olusegun Obansanjo who has presented himself to the whole world as an after thought democrat and an anti-corruption crusader. The starting point to scientifically evaluate the performance government is to look at how its policies and programmes have impacted on the lives of the common man
The concept and evolutionary of government centre around the belief that it is when a group or individuals or families come together and invest their collective power and authority on an individual or a set of individuals to maintain law and order, settle dispute and provide security for their community. Therefore the provision of security for the lives of the individual and his properties to the primary functions that brought government in being in the place. But today, what do we have? Armed robbery, assassinations and all kinds of criminal activities of the common man. This is because of the inability of General Olusegun Obansanjo to adequately maintain, enhance and sustain the security infrastructure and services that he met at the Inception of his government in 1999. Today, the common man is far more insecure that he was eight years ago.
In a democracy, the protection of the fundamental human rights of everyone is , guaranteed and protecting the constitution and everybody is equal whether he is the president or the man on the street. Alas what we find in this so called democratic government of General. Olusegun Obansanjo is the gross abuse of the fundamental rights of the people, lack of due process and respect for the rule of law. Thousand of people are detained all over the land and the breath of the geographical expression known as Nigeria, without trial. Our prisons are overflowing with awaiting trial inmates, some exceeding ten years. The SSS illegal detentions centers spread Nigeria in an issue that must be taken to the domain of international judicial enquiry. All men and women of good will all over the world must rise up and demand for the opening up of the Iron Gate and bars of the SSS dungeons and torture centers for a public serenity where fellow human being are reduce to a condition worse than the condition of animals. I can with all sense of responsibility say that some detainees have been in this SSS detention centers for two years under leg and hand chains brothers and sisters, comrades is this what a democracy ought to be? Definitely not we must not also forget the EFCC civil defense and police detentions centers. God knows the conditions in which the detainees are kept. We must demand for a judicial enquiry. No amount of sanctimonious sermonizing will save General Olusegun Obasanjo and his henchmen in the Nigerian police, SSS and of history. We must not allow these evil and heartless men who rejoice when we suffer pain, injury and are killed to escape. They must be treated like their comrades in crime who perpetuated the holocarsed, the genocide in the Bosnia Rwanda and Buuadi, components etc.
For some time now the Nigerian judiciary has been praised and held up as the last hope of the common man. To me this is an absolute fallacy as my unjust detention, unfair trial and that of Ralph Uwazruike clearly demonstrates. For if not, how can we justify a judicial process that take two years to grant bail to me without the commencement of the substantive matter how come a judge will be imported from Benin judicial division to Abuja purposely for my trial to carry out a hatchet job. How come the interim order of the judge taking over my trial that I be detained by the police is so bluntly disobeyed and how come that an appeal court will rule that there is an amorphous threat to national security, the fundamental right of the people will be taken away. The implications of that ruling is that the executive have been armed to introduce motel to dissolve all democratic mittens and move in the military men and tanker into the street to mussel the voice of the people. How come it has taken the Supreme Court one year to rule on my bail when in any civilized society it will not take more than two weeks?
For me I do not have any hope in the Nigerian Judiciary or see it dispensing justice in my case. It is like a lamb appearing in a court where the lion is a judge. The only reasonable verdict that can come from such a court is an in-genuine one.
We do not need any prophet or seer to tell us the State of decadeness and collapse of all social infrastructure and utilities in the eight years of Obasanjo’s misrule. Our roads are death traps and impassable. The electric power supply has totally collapsed leading to economic stagnation and low output from our manufacturing sector, because they cannot afford the exorbitant cost of private universities our children in the universities are more at home than in the school. Those of us who can afford it are now sending our children to tertiary institutions in the Ghana and neighboring third world countries because our educational system has collapsed.
In 1983 when General Abacha announced the removal of the government of the reason for the take of over government was that our hospitals have become more consulting clinic. Today, they have become mortuaries this was confirmed when Governor Uman Musa Yar’ Adua was flown out of the country because of mere cold and catarrh and the VP because of his fractured ligaments. How can health systems degenerate to such a level?
THE PETROLUME SECTOR Nigeria is the world’s 8th largest producer of crude oil and at the inception of General Olusegun Obasanjo’s government there were four refineries, two petrochemical plants and one LNG plant. After spending Billions of dollars in turn-around maintenance none of these refineries, petrochemicals are still producing. All the petrochemicals plants have been sold (auctioned) at rich colors prizes while there is a concerted effort to sell all the refineries to his to his paddy men. Nigeria is now the laughing stock in the world, importing petroleum and as the only major petroleum producing country without functional refineries depending on imported products for domestic use.
The Obasanjo government at its inception raised the hope of an agricultural revival and revolution, but all these have come to naught as the price of most staple food items has skyrocketed and are out of the reach of the common man. Government propaganda reads out statistics of growth in the agricultural sector but this is not the real thing in the market place. Our people have now resorted to eating from the dust bins. How can there be a takeoff of the agricultural revolution without a functional fertilizer plant. The government of Olusegun Obasanjo allowed the Nation’s Fertiliser plant at Onne to rot away while millions of dollars are spent importing fertilizers which never get to the farmers. Like our Refineries which he wants to hurriedly sell away to his cronies, he has sold NAFCON Plant at Onne at a ridiculously give away price.
The best indicator for a healthy economy is the strength of her currency vis a vis other currencies. When Obasanjo came to power on the 29th of May 1999, the Naira was exchanging at N88 (Eighty Eight) Naira to a dollar. As at today, this month, the Naira is exchanging at N129 to a dollar. How can one rationally explain this against the backdrop of more earnings in crude oil which has been selling between $58 and $70 in the past 2 years? The only reform that Obasnjo’s regime has succeeded in is to give away government enterprises to his friends and relations at ridiculously low prices. The government has a policy of granting soft loans to local banks while borrowing from them at a much more interest rate in the name of mopping up excess liquidity. The so called banks and financial sectors consolidation and reform is only intended to safeguard the ill-gotten wealth of his family members, friends and associates as this do not in any way affect the living standards and condition of the common Man.
ANTI CORRUPTION CRUSADE.
For any anti corruption campaign to be meaningful, it must start from the presidency. A situation where the president takes delight in setting aside the entire budget approved by the National Assembly and spends the financial resources of the Nigerian state as if it is his personal estate is what? His budget implemental performance is less than 20% from 1999 to date. He established a special account outside the constitutionally approved federation account where he withdraws money outside the scrutiny of the National Assembly such as the Excess Crude Money Account, PTDF Account, Ecological Account, etc “Brothers and Sisters Na wa o!” “I just dey look dey see and dey laugh”.
When the man appointed to run the anti-corruption agency EFCC Mr. Nuhu Ribadu is himself swimming in the sea of corruption. If not, how can we explain how a man who was a CSP eight years ago will be catapulted to AIG? What extra duties has he performed outside the law establishing his engagement in the EFCC that will make General Obasanjo to stand due process on his head? The answer to this question is not far fetched. Ribadu and his EFCC are not fighting corruption as we understand it. The anti corruption battle is only to blackmail and intimidate political opponents by the regular maxima General Olusegun Obasanjo. It is regrettable that even the respected legal luminary , Chief Gani Fahiwehimi is deceived by the antics of Obasanjo to believe that there is actually an anti corruption war.
Chief Gani Fahiwehimi believes that it is better to catch some of the corrupt people now and later the rest later. Every individual is equal before the law and must be given the same treatment. It is not justice to arrest, prosecute and imprison some individuals while others are allowed to enjoy the loot and even get accolades. No society can be said to be just while some persons enjoy protection and others are prosecuted. Such a society is bound to collapse. General Olusegun’s regime has the good fortune of earning more money from the oil exported from the Niger Delta than all the governments between when Nigeria attained internal self government 1556 to 1999 as you can see from the score card above. General Olusegun Obasanjo has failed woefully to translate this goodwill to the benefit and good of the common man. The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from this is that money has been misapplied, misappropriated and stolen. If we haunted Abacha’s loot which is just a tip of the iceberg compared to what this government has misapplied, misappropriated and stolen. We must put all machineries in motion to make Obasanjo and members of his government account for the billions of dollar proceeds from the sales of oil and gas as this cannot be seen in the streets of our countries, on the community squares of our people and in the creeks of the Niger Delta and in the lives of our people and the common man. We must demand for Obasanjo, I repeat for Obasanjo to account.
I do not have enough information on the conduct of the April elections and as such I will not be in any position to speak on it unlike the 2003 polls that I witnessed. But taking a clue from what happened in 2003 when it was “carry go”, now I heard it was “Do or Die”. I am persuaded to believe that a “do or die” election will be worse than a “carry go” election. But do I really care about who emerges as the president of the Nigerian State? I say no. My primary concern and the concern of all lovers of the Niger Delta should be how we can follow the footsteps of Isaac Boro towards achieving his dream of living in independent Niger DELTA Republic. This to me is the reason why we are celebrating and remembering Boro today. While concluding, I will crave your indulgence to forgive me for taking you on this long voyage. The reason for the long voyage is to remind you that there is no hope for us to develop and realize our individual and collective aspirations and potentials as a colonized, subdued and occupied people. We must jettison our greed and individual self-interest to collectively come together and pursue the course of our freedom, liberties and independence.
VivaViva My People.
God is with us.
Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari