Ex-Niger Delta militant, Dokubo Asari, has blamed northern elites for the Boko Haram insurgency and ‘backwardness’ of the region.
In an exclusive interview with Rariya Newspaper, Mr. Asari said northerners should pray for forgiveness because they are facing the wrath of God.
“For how many years the ruling oligarchy of the north has been encouraging oppression? The people of the north are poor, they did not benefit from the years of criminal, immoral ravaging of the lands of Ogonis, Ijaws, Urhobos, Itsekiris and others.
The people are watching. They are going to Dubai, London and everywhere to buy house. They are sending their children abroad. They forgot God.
They forgot that there are so many children roaming the street. All these things, one day a Daniel will come to judgement. And that is it, it has come to judgement, and the people are confronting them,” he said.
“What is happening in the north is the north creates a monster, and the monster is consuming them. God is angry with the north. Let them cry to Allah for forgiveness.”
Mr. Asari said it would be difficult for a Northerner to win the 2015 presidential election as the fear of Boko Haram will prevent people in the region from coming out to vote on election day.
An Ijaw sovereign state
Mr. Asari who traced the struggle of the people of the Niger Delta to the Battle of Akasa between the British and the people of Nimbe Brass, said he is not interested in resource control for the people of the Niger Delta but for an independent Ijaw State.
“For me as an individual, I’m not involved in resources control. I believe first in what Kwame Nkrumah said: ‘‘seek ye first the political kingdom, and all other things will be added to you.’’ What I believe in is an independence of my people.
“Yes, my position is quite different from what others are fighting for. My position is an independent nation. It is an undeniable right of our people to fight for the independence of our country, which has not been extinguished because we signed a protracted treaty with Britain. We did not surrender our sovereignty to Britain to be colonised. So as far as those treaties are the 1914 amalgamation of Nigeria is illegal, null and void. So also the declaration of independence in 1960 and also the declaration of Nigeria in 1966 as a republic are also illegal,” he said.
I only care about Ijaws
The former militant who only recently criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for running an inept government said he only cares about the Ijaw people and by relation, the Igbo and other ethnic groups of the Niger Delta.
“I have always said that, I’m fighting for the independence of my people, the Ijaw people. I don’t have any feeling than the feeling of an Ijaw man. That is the truth. And the feelings of the wellbeing of Niger Delta and Igbo people, because I share blood with Igbo. I’m an Ijaw, an Igbo and a Niger Deltan. I don’t have any feeling with any other people.”
He said he has not ceased his fight for a sovereign Ijaw State but is only on “sabbatical” as it is inappropriate to fight with one’s brother (a reference to Mr. Jonathan who is from the Ijaw ethnic group as well).
He also claimed that he was not part of the amnesty deal the federal government signed with the Niger Delta militants, saying “I will not use my hand to trade away my freedom.”
Dialogue with Boko Haram
Mr. Asari, who claimed he spent time in prison with some leaders of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, said the only way out of the insurgency is through dialogue.
“From the very beginning I was one of those people who asked the government to dialogue with them. I was in prison with some of them. I was with Mohammed Ashafa at Kuje prison; I was in SSS underground prison with Mohammed Isa, Hussain and Yusuf, Murtada and others. Late Mohammed Yusuf left SSS underground prison few days before I was put in there. Dialogue is the only solution. As far as I’m concerned, both government and Boko Haram cannot win this war. The bloodshed should be stopped. It will not remove anything from the part of government of President Jonathan to dialogue with this people,” he said.