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Planned attack on Mosques, a hoax says Asari Dokubo

By The Citizen

The leader of 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 them as fakes that only exist on the internet and pages of newspapers, insisting the faceless group has succeeded in rubbishing the real struggle of the Niger Delta.

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 field 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 will 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, Dipreye Alamesaigha, insisting that MEND leaders are not known anywhere compared to other organizations like the Ijaw Youth Council, Odua Peoples Congress (OPC).

He said even Henry Okah, convicted for the October 1, 2010, bombing at Eagles Square, has  denied being the leader of MEND in court under oath.

On what he makes of the latest threat by MEND to attack mosque and Islamic institutions, Asari-Dokubo said, “Am a Muslim I do not subscribe to attacking religious centers of worship, I do not believe that MEND exist, I have always said that there is nothing like MEND. MEND is just the figment of the imagination of people, it’s 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 Alamesaigha 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.

“I want to say that there is no religious war in Nigeria and nobody should try to throw Nigeria into religious crisis that will have far reaching consequences. For instance in Yoruba land, how are you going to fight? In some families the family is divided, the mother is a Christian, the father is a Muslim, the children are divided, there are pastors, there are missioners of Islamic organizations. Even in my family, of my fathers children, I am the only muslim and my 18 children are also Muslims, so how are we going to fight and kill each other. I don’t think it will be possible and I don’t think anybody should be foolhardy in introducing that agenda into the crisis we already have”.

In the same vein, Asari-Dokubo has condemned amnesty given to any group in the country describing it as a fraud and a mistake the Federal Government has made that must be corrected before it becomes a vicious circle.

He said the government has only two options according to the constitution under which to grant amnesty,  - the prerogative of mercy after a person has 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 refered to as ex-militants, the largess must go round other groups in the country for peace to reign.

Speaking more on Amnesty for Boko Haram, he said, “I have always said that if you make the first mistake of granting amnesty to people it must continue. First amnesty is a fraud, it is not known to Nigerian law. The government can only put in two things, exercise prerogative of mercy after a person has been convicted or when a person is under trial to put a Nolli Prosequi, but you cannot see somebody and declare him a criminal and give him pardon. It is very wrong, it is a mistake we made the first time and if you have made mistake once, you continue to make it.

“If they give amnesty to the Salafi movement, I don’t know them as Boko Haram, other people will come and maybe I will form a group and ask for amnesty and they will give me, so the vicious circle will continue.

“I cannot in one breath say that some other people are sitting at homeland receiving N65,000 and say that others should not, I cannot say that. It will be inconsistent with what I stand for. As far as I am concerned the amnesty proposed to whether it is Boko haram or any Organisation, as far as it has been given to one set of people, it should be given to all”.

Asked if he was surprised at their rejection, Asari-Dokubo said, “People play to the gallery, this is a war you cannot win. You will just be killing and causing dislocation in the system and the Prophet said he who commits suicide is going to end up in hell fire and he who commits suicide is not part of us.

“There are conditions for Jihad and we are not afraid. Jihad is compulsory on every Muslim, we are not ashamed and we are not apologetic about it. If North Korea can go to war with South Korea, if America can go to a senseless war in Iraq, if a Muslim is threatened, the prophet says fight against those who fight against you, if they desist you stop, there are conditions for Jihad.

“Jihad can only be possible if you are prevented from praying, reading your Koran, marrying and other things that affect your religion. When people are misguided you need to guide them”.

Asari-Dokubo denied that policemen were attack nor oil installation in the Niger Delta. According to him, “I don’t think there is any oil installation that has been attacked in the Niger Delta. But the unfortunate incident that happened in Bayelsa, if you dig deep into it, many people were paid money through this amnesty programme and instead of paying their followers they pocketed much of the money for themselves and these followers were angry that the N65,000 stipend that was supposed to go to them did not get to them. And according to the allegation when one of the leaders was going for his mother’s burial, they had the opportunity to attack because they had problems with the engine of the boat and the Police were stranded and were attacked. I don’t think it is MEND, I think it is an internal disagreement and some of the perpetrators have been arrested. I am very concerned about it, our struggle was a moral struggle and anybody who introduce any other element into that struggle is not part of us”.

it could be recalled that MEND had in a statemenr threatened to launch violent attacks on mosques, hajj camps, Islamic institutions, large 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 is to save Christianity in Nigeria from annihilation.