Leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubo has declared that the massive oil theft going on in the Niger Delta was being perpetrated by the Nigerian military cabal. Dokubo said this while answering questions from State House Journalists in Abuja, after meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. TONY AILEMEN was there for BusinessDaySunday. Excerpts:
You just met with Mr. President. Can you talk us through what you discussed?
We discussed on wide range of issues, especially on security and oil thief in the Niger Delta. I assured the President that there would be zero oil theft and vandalism in the Niger Delta. We’re going to work with an NNPC and the IOCs to make sure that oil theft is brought to zero level. I also want to say that oil theft is encouraged by the military. The military is at the centre of oil theft and we have to make this very, very clear to the Nigerian public. 99 percent of oil theft can be traced to the Nigerian military, the army and the navy especially. The Army and the Navy intimidate staff of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) who are by status, the people who are supposed to guard these pipelines.
They receive a lot of money from NNPC and the IOCs and just across the corner, you will see a Military boat, few meters away, you will see an oil bunkering and illegal refinery or you see them tapping directly from oil wells. It is very pathetic. What is happening in the Niger Delta since the past eight years is unprecedented in the history of oil production anywhere in the world. The vandals do not only attack the pipelines, they have migrated from the pipeline and have gone directly to the oil wealth heads and they take directly from the oil well heads.
They set up haphazard facilities they call local refinery or artisan refinery, this is crime against humanity. The livelihood of the people is being totally destroyed. And every meter you see a naval house boat or an army house boat stationed. So the main culprit are the Army and the Navy. And there are notorious naval commanders who are known to be kingpins of these bunkering activities. Even if they give N1billion contracts to everybody in the Niger Delta, because these military men are armed from the Army and the Navy, nothing will happen.
The President has promised to take decisive action to make sure that they do not continue and that it is brought to an end. It is very shameful. So, I had volunteered to help, to assist and to do the things that are necessary to put a stop to this evil that is being perpetrated against the people of the Niger Delta, the oil community and the whole of Nigerians.
On security, I want to clearly say that there are fullscale wars going on in different parts of this country. In the South East, the IPOB, Eastern Security Network (ESN) is waging a full scale war against the government of this country, and many local government, many communities are deserted. Schools are closed, hospitals are closed. In the same vein, in Niger, Zamfara, Plateau, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, we are you talking about Boko Haram. Boko Haram is just a tip of the iceberg, there’s a full scale war going on. And the blackmail of the Nigerian state by the Nigerian military is shameful. They said they do not have enough armament and people listen to this false narrative. They are lying. They are liars. I repeat they are liars because I am a participant.
I am a participant in this war. I fight on the side of the government of the Nigerian state in Plateau, Niger, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Rivers and in Abuja. Today, you are travelling to Kaduna on this road, is not the army that makes it possible for you to travel to Abuja or travel to Kaduna, it is my men employed by the government of the Nigerian state stationed in Niger. Today go to Baga, Shiroro, Wase, we have lost so many men, and in all these engagement, we don’t even have 1% of the armament deployed by the Nigerian military. And we have had resounding success.
So this blackmail must end. They have enough resources to fight. Instead of fighting, they are busy stealing. They are busy making the government to spend unnecessarily. Where is Dogo? Who was terrorising Niger, Kaduna? Where is Dogo today? He is nowhere because he has been served his dish that he was serving others.
So well let us be able to support the government. And don’t listen to these false narratives because somebody must tell the truth. We don’t have arms? An average person is carrying two magazines of AK 47 , loaded with bullets, the Nigerian army is carrying inside their truck 20-30 cans. Two magazines of AK 47 has 25 rounds of ammunition. 700 or 750 make up a can they called it sardine. And they have 20, 25, 30, in their vehicles.
They will leave and abandon them on slight attack. They will abandon these weapons for the bandits and the insurgents to take them, to capture them. So in actual fact, the insurgents are harvesting from the Nigerian military and police to further their insurgency. And most of these people are the actually insurgents? They’re mere criminals.
You go to some camps, will find 200 vehicles stolen from people. Who are the owners of these vehicles? They cut these vehicles into parts, they sell them. You go to some places you find that human parts are being brought out they are put in coolers and sold. Human organs being trafficked , etc, which the governor of Anambra State, Soludo has also attested to, in one of his interviews.
So, what I’m trying to say is this, I as a person who is in the know, I have given these information even before the President came. I knew that we had never had any person like him aspiring for this position. I’m not flattering him now. I said before the primaries. I said it during the course of the election. I said it after the election. So all the forces of evil and darkness came together to fight to make sure that Ahmed Bola Tinubu did not become president of Nigeria. Because they are benefiting from the institution failure that is going on.
Why is the NDDC not working? Because there are people from here who go and collect all the money from NDDC. The NDDC MD and the board members only want to survive. Let me just take my bread and go away. The amnesty programme is the same thing. They just go collect everything and it is the people that are sitting there that suffer.
How can somebody say N500 billion is being used to lift people out of poverty? Do you know how many industries that would set up? Do you know how many agricultural settlements that will set up? Where did the money go? How can somebody say we used $10 billion, almost N8 trillion to service the gluttonous appetite of a few people like us at the expense of the masses.
And then NLC and TUC will come and say that they should give them palliative. What is the proportion? what is the percentage of members of NLC and TUC, viz-a-viz the total population of Nigeria? Why would we operate an apartheid system of rewarding a few people at the expense of the generality of the people? Why would they have palliatives or cushioning? The woman in Nogepeme, the woman at Kolo who is fishing or the woman somewhere at Adahi who is farming, does she have that same palliative? Have we not been having this palliative? Did we not have PTF? Did we not have this roads maintenance FERMA? They are all conduit pipes, they achieve noting.
The President should not listen to such advise. Channel the money to fix our education, health, road, agriculture. Don’t tell me that they’re going to give loan. Agricultural loan is being given by the central bank, how many people access it? A few people, they access billions but do they pay back?
How many Nigerians travel by air? Why would we carry the gluttonous appetite of a few Nigerians who are not even up to 1% and put it on the generality of the people.
The president is a firm person. I know him. Everywhere i went o campaign I always say, if Ahmed Bola Tinubu fails, hold me responsible. Because I have known him, I can stand in the gap and say this is Ahmed Bola Tinubu. I can take a bullet for him. And I came today just to say hello and to encourage him and to say we are with him and inshallah he is going to succeed.
You said your men are helping reduce crime in the society. Does this suggest that you have your personal army operating to deal with the bandits?
Nigeria had been engaging foreign mercenaries from other countries from Belarus, from South Africa to fight insurgency. Maybe you’re not aware. So why would Nigeria not engage in the same locals who have the same wherewithal and are more effective and more conversant with the environment? We’re not the only one, Hunters Association, different people are engaged, civilian JTF are engaged to confront this evil that has enveloped this country. I don’t have a private army. I am assisting the government as a good citizen of this country to save the lives. Since the time we went there, Kaduna road has been free, no more kidnapping, we are saving lives. I don’t have a private army and the Constitution does not provide for a private army.
You said you and your brothers have agreed to bring oil theft to a zero point. You also said the military, particularly the army and the navy are entrenched in this. How are you going to bring this situation to an end?
The President is the commander in chief of the armed forces, he is going to take decisive action to get these rotten eggs out. It is not the whole Army and the Navy. There are a few who have this entitlement mentality, I better pass una, I get power pass una, I get people wey dey up wey cover me. The President is going to remove them and make it possible for the people of this country to benefit. For instance, Emefiele is gone, Bawa is gone. So more heads will roll those who are standing as an impediment to the good and progress of this country. The President is going to kick them out. And when he does that, we will have the unfettered power, encouragement to get the needed supports and with all my brothers in the Niger Delta, all of us are for it.
You also talked about a full scale war going on in some parts of the country. And some people have suggested that the only solution to that is a political solution which will mean the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kalu. Do you share this view?
I don’t share in that. You encouraged people to kill people. When the madness they call #ENDSARS started, I was one of the people vocally opposed to that nonsense. Then Nnamdi Kanu was walking free. What did he do? He poured petrol on the flames for #ENDSARS. Now he has been caught, what of the people who have died? This is a criminal he should face the law. As I’m talking Nnamdi Kanu does not have any control over what is happening in the South East. Simeon Ekpe had come out, pretending that he is with Nnamdi Kanu, he has actually plotted a coup against Nnamdi Kanu to take over the leadership of IPOB. That is the truth of the matter. So releasing Nnamdi Kanu is rewarding criminality and reawarding gruesome murder of innocent people. He should face the law for the actions and the instigation he has carried out.
Some boys in the Niger Delta there have been accused of being responsible for this oil theft and today you are telling us it is the Navy and the Army. What proofs do you have?
My dear, the people doing the bunkering have been there. A lot of people have come out to say it before. The people doing the bunkering are not our people. They cannot bring those big super cargo ships, vessels that are almost the size of this villa. They don’t have the resources. They are powerful cabal. Most times, they are operating from Abuja. And you saw it on television, where pipes are linked to export terminals. How will that be possible that an ordinary person will go into that? There are powerful forces in place who think they are far more stronger but they have met their match. And their match is President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, he is going to expose all them and many people will be marching to Kuje ane Kirikiri.
Do we believe that your men and Tompolo who got mouth-watering contract to supervise the pipe lines surveillance with the immediate past government are working hand in hand?
Myself and Tompolo are not in the same field. He is guiding pipelines and I am not. Tompolo is guiding pipelines, I am not. I am speaking now because I know that the President will protect me because I am saying the truth: under another president, they might not give you the protection. So, they might not give Tompolo the protection. You saw on television where Tompolo himself was accusing the military. So for us, I know this President. And I know this President is a stickler for the rule of law. He’s going to make sure… we need all the money. Have you been to the United Arab Emirates? Have you been to Qatar? Go there and see what they have used our oil to do. Why can’t we use our oil to do something? Where is the oil money going? Is not me o! They say I talk very raw. Me I’m okay.I have four wives and I have 22 children and several SUVs.
But when you know what what is going on? The deprivation you when somebody calls you on the phone and say my brother, I have not eaten since. The person went to school, the person has skills. But the system will not allow the President to excel. Why must we all become criminals to survive. Why must we all become beggars to survive? Why did opportunities not be given to us to raise our shoulders high and to be good men and women to the society? This is what it is and this is what Bola Ahmed Tinubu will do.