The leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, NDPVF, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari has alleged that former President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as some leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, wanted him to rot away in detention in Benin Republic to enable them perpetrate electoral malpractices in the coming general elections.
He specifically alleged that Mr. Obasanjo plotted his arrest recently in the Republic of Benin, when he (Obasanjo) sent his name alongside others to the INTERPOL, asking it to arrest and detain the neighboring West African country.
Mr. Dokubo-Asari stated this in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES last Tuesday, two days before he was arrested and interrogated by the State Security Service, SSS.
Mr. Dokubo-Asari said when he was picked up by the Benin security outfit, the APC leaders, who he did not name, wanted him kept away for long as long as possible since they could not silence him.
He said, “They believe that if I’m around in 2015 and people know me – it is not boasting and shouting because the records are there – they know that if people like me are around in 2015, they will not be able to do what they want to,” he said.
“And for the threats they are making; every action will get an opposite reaction, they cannot silence me.
“Benin republic is a democracy and there is rule of law and of course they examined the accusations leveled against me and they found out that there was nothing.
“I hear that some APC leader said I should rot in prison and they were even putting pressure on my lawyer. They have forgotten that it was through me that Festus Keyamo (his lawyer) became a member of the APC, because I was a founding member of ACN. They are the ones who will surely rot in prison because my hands are clean.”
The APC spokesman, Lai Mohammed, could not be reached for reaction to the allegation as he did not answer or return calls.
Former President Obasanjo could also not be reached for comments. His aides, who asked not to be named, said the former president will not respond to allegations from an “inconsequential character like Dokubo-Asari.
Recounting his ordeal in Benin Republic where he says he runs three schools and have over 500 staff, Mr. Dokubo-Asari said he kept a low profile life until that country’s authorities received a report from Mr. Obasanjo about him, got him arrested, but found him clean after conducting their investigations.
According to him, “I have been in Benin since 2008, I have been doing business there and nobody knows me apart from the few people I interact with. I have over 500 people under my employment in my three schools. I pay my tax, yet I don’t have any visibility.
“Ordinarily anywhere I stay, I hardly have any visibility other than when people see me because I’m not flamboyant. I don’t believe there is any need in this world for somebody to display wealth. Whatever you have you should use it. This is my house people can say whatever they like about me having billions, but this is where I stay. You see the cars that I drive they are ordinary cars.
“Benin Republic received a report from former President Olusegun Obasanjo about me. That was why they arrested me, but thankfully, they conducted all their investigations and found me clean.
Thanks also to the efforts of some Igbo and South-South People’s Associations who played a part to get us released.”
Mr. Dokubo-Asari also admitted that Mr. Jonathan played a part in getting him released, but denied that the president dispatched a presidential jet to ferry him back to Nigeria.
“The president did intervene,” he said. “He did and I’m grateful for that, but presidential jet ‘no be the first time wey I go enter presidential jet now! Obasanjo no send presidential jet to come and carry me? This is not the first time but the president (Jonathan) didn’t send any presidential jet to come and carry me back.
“But Obasanjo sent a presidential jet to pick me from Port Harcourt when I came out from the creeks to Abuja. Did he not cancel Oct 1 (Independence) celebrations in the history of this country because of me in 2004?”
Describing himself as the most prosecuted Nigerian, Mr. Dokubo-Asari said contrary to the perception in some quarters, he had been invited and questioned by the SSS several times last year over remarks the Service considered inflammatory.
He said he had been detained more than 73 times and that on one occasion, they though he would go crazy.
He said, “I am the most prosecuted person, I have been detained more than 73 times. In fact, I was under the ground. I was buried alive by Obasanjo where you don’t know when it is night or day.
“I was buried alive for 10 months 11 days at the SSS they think I will go bananas I did not go, so I have seen it all.”
According to him, once during his interrogation, he told the authorities at the SSS that they had no right to arrest him if a former Head of State and APC leader, Muhammadu Buhari, who he claimed threatened his Ijaw ethnic group, could not be similarly arrested.
“I was with the SSS several times last year, they even came here to pick me up. I don’t need to make noise about it. We Ijaw people are men, we can’t make noise anyhow. SSS comes and you run under your wife’s wrapper? Who is SSS?” he said.
“It is wrong to say I was never invited by the SSS. I was invited over the statement that I make and I went there and I told them I have the right to reply if somebody threatens my people, I will reply him. See if you didn’t arrest Buhari for threatening my people, you have no right to arrest me.
“A man contests election, then threaten the people, he becomes a burden and if no action is taken, he would actualize his threats. But if he knows that there will be resistance and the resistance will overwhelm him, he will be careful to make such statements, he will be careful to make plans against my people.
“Goodluck Jonathan comes from a place and it is our duty to protect him whether he’s doing well for us or not, when we reach home we will talk about that one, when he comes outside we will put up a united front,” he said.
Mr. Dokubo-Asari was invited by the SSS and interrogated for about six hours last Thursday for threatening to make the country ungovernable if President Goodluck Jonathan was not allowed to run for a second term next year.
“We’ll make Nigeria ungovernable if Jonathan fails to return. If it is war, the North wants, we are ready for them because Jonathan must complete the mandatory constitutionally allowable two terms of eight years,” he had said in a newspaper interview.
It was not the first time the NDPVF made such a threat. He did so on about two previous occasions.
However, the security agencies came under pressure to arrest and question after he issued the latest threat.
Those who demanded his arrest questioned the rational for arresting and interrogating the Deputy National Secretary, Nasir El-Rufai by the SSS two weeks ago, when he (El-Rufai) said there might be violence if the 2015 general elections were not credible.
Prominent among those who demanded his arrest were a former Head of State and APC leader, Muhhamadu Buhari and a rights group, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC.
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