President Goodluck Jonathan is believed to have intervened in the arrest, Tuesday, of Alhaji Muhajeed Dokubo-Asari by the
government of Republic of Benin.
told Daily Independent
on Wednesday that the president had sought for details of why Dokubo-Asari was taken in by the Benin Republic gendarmes through the Nigerian Ambassador to that country.
The ex-militant was reportedly arrested around the Lubeleyi roundabout between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday and taken to an unknown destination, according to his lawyer, Festus Kayamo, who in a statement said, “Dokubo-Asari carries on legitimate business and has been living partly in Benin Republic for many years now.”
“In fact, he owns houses, schools and an academy in that country. All these places have been searched as at this evening (Tuesday) and nothing incriminating found,” Keyamo stated.
When Daily Independent spoke to Keyamo on Wednesday, he reiterated that “no official issue” had been established against his client, even though he did not rule out “political undertone” in the entire saga.
Explaining that his office had written to the presidency on the development, Kayamo said it was not unlikely the intervention was on the strength of his petition.
Regardless, we got it on good authority that President Jonathan had directed the appropriate offices in the presidency to follow up on the matter with a view to getting the right insight into the nature of the alleged offence before throwing his weight behind the controversial Nigerian.
Our dependable source told us that President Jonathan had been getting several calls since the arrest was reported, from those who believe early presidential intervention had become necessary.
Most of the calls, we were told, were from prominent persons from the South South area of the country where Dokubo-Asari hails from.
Dokubo-Asari is a major political figure of the Ijaw ethnic group in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. He was president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) for a time beginning in 2001 and later founded the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) which would become one of the most prominent armed groups operating in the Niger Delta region. He is a Muslim with populist views and an anti-government stance that have made him a folk hero amongst certain members of the local population.