We knew it would be a matter of time before leader of the Niger-Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Asari Dokubo weighed in the whole drama revolving around revelations made by Australian priest and self-appointed negotiator for the release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, Stephen Davis.
Davies, in a series of interviews granted to Nigerian media, had named former Chief of Army Staff General Azubuike Ihejirika and former Borno Governor Ali Modu Sheriff as sponsors of Boko Haram. He also hinted that sponsors of the dreaded Islamist sect which had ravaged the country, killing over 5,000 people since 2010, were in the Nigerian opposition party.
In an interview granted to Vanguard Monday, September 15, 2014, Dokubo said he knew Davies as a negotiator on behalf of former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he was approached by the Australian in 2004 during the Niger Delta agitations. He said that Davies is but a pawn in the hands of Obasanjo with the sole aim of embarrassing President Jonathan to fulfill an agenda of ”kicking Jonathan out of Aso Rock.
He said it was shameful for the Australian to compromise his position as a principled man to score ”cheap points” and the report made ”nonsense of all the respect and high regard” he had for Davies.
On how Dokobu met Davies and his relationship with Obasanjo:
“I know Stephen Davies. I meet him in 2004 when he came to my camp with Van Kemedy and told us that he had the mandate of the European Union, the British Government, the Church of England and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo to negotiate with us to come out of our camps and meet with the government.Speaking to Vanguard in Abuja, Asari who was also the former President of Ijaw Youth Council,IYC, said it was laughable that the immediate past Chief of Army Staff,Gen. Ihejirika, who was accused of genocide by some northern elements would be named a sponsor of Boko Haram.
“I was sceptical but after all there ought to be peace. So, I gave it a chance until Timi Alaibe and others also came. We negotiated and we came out. I was brought to Abuja with some of our men and we met with Obasanjo. Thereafter, we had a very robust relationship: His daughters, other family members, friends. He was very good to me but he was Obasanjo’s friend.
On why he was sceptical when he heard Davies was negotiation with Boko Haram on behalf of the Federal Govenment”:
“Lately when I started reading about a Federal government negotiator and Steve Davies name popped up, I was wandering. Steve Davies, a Christian with Boko Haram? How possible? Until he came out with his report and I found out that the report made nonsense of all the respect and high regards I have for him. This is the man who says that opposition was sponsoring Boko Haram. That was the main theme of the report; that President Goodluck Jonathan was not acting to bring these opposition elements who are sponsoring Boko Haram.
On the surprising naming of General Ihejirika as a Boko Haram sponsor:
“But all of a sudden, he made a complete somersault. He never named any member of the opposition. The first person he called was Gen. Ihejirika. This is laughable. It is common sensical to ask: was he “high” or something when he said because any right thinking person, if it is not that so many of these people are made and sick in Nigeria who parade themselves as intellectuals with all prefixes and suffixes behind their names, it is so appalling. When did Ihejirika start sponsoring Boko Haram? Was it in 2002 when the group made an Ijira to Yobe, when they had confrontation with members of the Nigerian Police or was it in 2009 when the leader of the group, Mohammed Yusuf was extra-judicially murdered on the orders of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, which they said Ali Modu Sheriff was misdirected the government for him to be killed?
When did Ihejirika start sponsoring Boko Haram? Was it at time that Ihejirika who was nobody, who was in the Engineering Corps of the Nigerian Army was sponsoring Boko Haram? For what purpose? Who gave him the money to sponsor Boko Haram? Or was it when he became Chief of Army Staff when some northern elites have been campaigning going to ICC, calling for trial of this man for committing genocide? And Shehu Sani and El-rufia who have been at the top? When did Ihejirika transmute? It is terrible.
“What if Stephen Davies had named the President as a sponsor, what would have happened? So, innocent people should just be sacrificed? No. It is not right. The President should be able to discern when this is political.
On Davies’s friendship with Obasanjo and “his agenda”:
“Steven Davies is Obasajo’s friend. Obasanjo’s agenda is to kick out Jonathan from Aso Rock. Obasanjo masterminded it. I am 100% sure. Steven Davies is Obasanjo’s friend. Obasanjo brought him to Nigeria. Obasanjo would have told him there is somebody in Central Bank who is sponsoring Boko Haram. Steven Davies did not name that but it was easy to name Ihejirika and Sheriff. Their agenda is to continue to embarrass Jonathan with their friends in the international scene.”
On what he thinks about Davies:
“I am so disappointed. I will not deny that I know him, he was good to me. But I think this is the worst period of his life. Whatever had happened for him to compromise his position so brazenly, it will end his career in big disgrace.
“Why was it easy to name Sheriff and Ihejirika but was difficult to name the man at CBN? Steve Davies should be ashamed of himself that he would be so cheaply used by Obasanjo and thinks that he can score a point. I am so ashamed of him.
He gives possible explanation for Sheriff’s involvement with Boko Haram:
“For Modu Sherrif, it is very simply. If he was had a relationship with the group at the beginning, it was possible. Somebody can be affiliated to a group. I was the President of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC. But now I am no longer a member because I am more than the constitutionally prescribed age to be a member of IYC. If it takes a decision today, is it binding on me?
“Yes, in an Islamic Group, you can pray together with people. You can like their preaching, purity of Islam. They said they are Salafins. They want to purify, restore Islam to its pristine condition and everybody will be attracted to it. But when they start to do certain action that becomes contradictory to one’s belief, he is free to say I can’t associate with you any longer. He can move on.
On the APC’s ”hyping” of Sheriff’s connections with Boko Haram:
“When did APC realize it? They have been hyping it. He was chairman, BoT of APC until about 3 months ago. All along they didn’t realize he was a Boko Haram sponsor. If he didn’t go back to the PDP, he would still have remained a non-sponsor of Boko Haram.”