By Ben. Agande, Abuja.
Leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, Mujaheed Asari Dokubo Monday warned the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND not to precipitate religious war in Nigeria by attacking Mosques saying any religious crisis in Nigeria will have ‘far reaching consequences’.
Speaking with state house correspondents at the presidential Villa, Asari Dokubo also told members of the Boko Haram sect to stop playing to the gallery because they cannot win the war they are waging against the people in the northern part of the country.
Asari Dokubo told state house correspondents that those who claim to be representing MEND and perpetrating crime in the Niger Delta region are impostors.
” I 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 name 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 have 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 eighteen 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” he said.
On the attack that led to the death of twelve policemen in Bayelsa state, Asari Dokubo said investigations show that those who carried out the attack were disgruntled former fighters whose leaders allegedly refused to pay their monthly stipend.
“the unfortunate incidence that happened in the Bayelsa ,if you dig deep into it, many people were paid money through this amnesty 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 and 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” he said.
On the proposed amnesty for members of the Boko Haram, Asari Dokubo said the issue of Amnesty for people who have not been convicted as done to the Niger Delta militants was faulty.
“I 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 see that some other people are sitting at home and receiving 65 thousand Naira and say that others should not. It will be inconsistent with what I stand for. As far as am concerned the amnesty has been given to one set of people, it should be given to all” he said.
Asked whether he was surprised at the rejection of the amnesty offer by the Boko Haram, Asari Dokubo asked the group not to “play to the gallery because this is a war they 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 to fight as Muslims. Jihad is compulsory for 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” he cautioned.
He called for the regulation of what religious figures dish out to the public noting that a situation where people who are not knowledgeable in the tenets of their religion are allowed to mislead the public will not augur well for the peace of the country.