Mujahid Dokubo Asari, the Leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) has cautioned the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) against its planned attacks on Nigerian mosques, warning that the action may precipitate religious war in Nigeria.
“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”, said Asari.
The NDPVF leader who also noted that he is the only Muslim among his family members added that: 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.
Asari who spoke to reporters during a visit to Aso Rock Villa also warned members of militant sect Boko Haram against continuing attacks in the Northern part of Nigeria, warning the sect that it is prosecuting a war it 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”.
Asari also said Boko Haram could not have been engaging in Jihad as there are no conditions that call for it in Nigeria at present: “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.”
He also told journalists that as a Muslim, he does not subscribe to the idea of attacking centres of worship even as he described MEND as an amorphous group that existed only in the media and on the internet.
“MEND was formed, only for the purpose of my release and the release of Alamieyeseigha 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.”
He therefore affirmed that the 12 policemen who recently lost their lives in Bayelsa State were killed by disgruntled former militants and not members of MEND.
On the issue of amnesty, for Boko Haram members, Asari said it is fraudulent to grant amnesty to people who have not been convicted.
“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”, said Asari.
He however said since the mistake has been made, the government should continue with it: “I cannot in one breath see that some other people are sitting at home and receiving N65,000.00 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.