•Says Amnesty is a fraud
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
The leader of the defunct Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, has reacted to the planned attack of mosques by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), describing the group as fake. Asari-Dokubo said MEND only exists on the internet and pages of newspapers, insisting the faceless group has succeeded in rubbishing the real struggle of the Niger Delta.
The MEND had in a statement threatened to launch attacks on mosques, hajj camps, Islamic institutions, congregations of Islamic followers, as well as assassinations of clerics, who propagate doctrines of hate, in a crusade code named “Operation Barbarossa,” from Friday, May 31, 2013. MEND said the crusade was to save Christianity in Nigeria from annihilation.
Asari-Dokubo, a member of the Federal Government delegation to the 2012 Hajj was in the State House for the submission of the report and took time out to answer questions from reporters. He insisted that there was no religious war in the country and no group or persons should try to cause religious crisis, as the consequences would be grave.
The Niger Delta activist said MEND was created to push for his release from detention and that of former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, insisting that MEND leaders were not known anywhere compared to other organizations like the Ijaw Youth Council, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC).
He said even Henry Okah convicted for the October 1, 2010 bombing at Eagles Square, had denied being the leader of MEND in court under oath. On what he makes of the latest threat by MEND to attack mosques and Islamic institutions, Asari-Dokubo said: “I am a Muslim, I do not subscribe to attacking religious centres of worship, I do not believe that MEND exists, I have always said that there is nothing like MEND. MEND is just the figment of the imagination of people, it is on the Internet, newspapers, but who is MEND, nobody can really tell you.
“MEND was formed, only for the purpose of my release and the release of Alamieyeseigha when we were in detention. MEND leaders are not known anywhere like other organizations like the Ijaw Youth Council, OPC and so on.
MEND actually is faceless, because Henry Okah himself has denied that he is not the leader of MEND in court under oath.” In the same vein, Asari-Dokubo had condemned amnesty given to any group in the country, describing it as a fraud and a mistake the Federal Government had made that must be corrected before it becomes a vicious circle.
He said the government had only two options according to the constitution under which to grant amnesty: The prerogative of mercy after a person had been convicted or a Nolli Prosequi (withdrawal of a case by the Attorney General of the Federation against a person).
He said government having made the mistake of giving out N65,000 monthly to a group of youths from Niger Delta referred to as ex-militants, the largess must go round other groups in the country for peace to reign.