UNDER former President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s Southeast region, the most peaceful at the time, suddenly exploded in a wave of inexplicable violence. Prisons, police stations, court houses electoral commission offices and random public establishments were attacked by armed gangs and razed. Individuals were kidnapped, hacked to death or gunned down in broad daylight by hooded men who escaped without a trace. Dr Chike Akunyili, husband of Late Prof Dora Akunyili, one-time Minister of Information and DG of NAFDAC, was gruesomely murdered by these men in an attack with no obvious aim other than to instil public fear. Many went missing and were never found. Gloom descended on the peoples of five states best known for their industry and enterprise.
Late Dr Chike Akunyili And Prof Dora Akunyili were killed by the so-called Unknown gunmen.
For years, not a single one of those crimes was solved. Not a single culprit was successfully apprehended and prosecuted by law enforcement operatives. Officially, fingers were promptly pointed at IPOB, the pro-Biafra agitating for the self-determination and independence of Biafra, defunct Eastern region, for every incident – sometimes even before investigations formally opened. IPOB vehemently denied these accusations. But government propaganda was too strong. Many soon believed the government and joined to demonize IPOB for mindlessly turning the region into a war front. Gradually, everyone began to realize that there was something fishy in the official position.
Federal and state authorities had all the means to nab the gangsters but preferred to issue increasingly sterile press statements instead. It soon became clear that the armed forces, police and other official security agencies were either in cahoots with the criminals or consciously turning a blind eye to their activities. In villages across the Southeast and North Central regions, locals began to notice that whenever the Army and Police showed up for patrols, Unknown Gunmen or armed “herdsmen” followed shortly afterwards. It was as if the patrols were surveillance missions for the bad guys. So, villagers took the hint and scampered for safety whenever those who were supposed to protect them reported for duty. It was even law enforcement officials who coined the moniker, “Unknown Gunmen”(UGM) to describe criminal elements they were paid to hunt down. People with experience in security matters soon concluded that Nigeria was dealing with “false flag operations” – crimes deliberately committed (in this instance by secret agents of the state) to incriminate an innocent party in order to achieve some dark political objectives. The problem was: There was no concrete evidence or proof to show the world. Those who were supposed to gather evidence were busy covering the tracks of the criminals.
Well, that mystery lasted until Asari Dokubo, the voluptuous and loquacious Niger Delta warlord, visited the Presidential Villa in Abuja as a guest of the new Nigerian leader, Bola Tinubu. It was only two weeks after the latter’s inauguration. At the end of his visit, Dokubo addressed a press conference from one of the chambers of the villa, a rare privilege accorded only to close allies of an administration. Unable to control his impulses whenever in front of cameras and microphones, Asari said several things which have since become subjects of controversy. One of the few which almost evaded public scrutiny holds the key to the mystery of the Unknown Gunmen. He said he was “in charge of security in six states of the federation” and his boys were responsible for some of the successes in the security situation of the country for which the Armed forces often get credit. To add color to this sketchy claim, he recounted an actual operational experience in these words: “… my men and I discovered a camp in Imo with hundreds of vehicles. Where are the owners? If you want me to show you pictures, I will show you. We discovered their camp, kicked their asses, and sent them to where they belong.”
President Tinubu meets Asari Dokubo in Aso Rock Villa Abuja.
For the avoidance of doubt, Dokubo boasted: “I am a participant in this war, I fight on the side of the government of the Nigerian state; in Plateau, in Niger, in Anambra, in Imo, in Abia and in Rivers state and in Abuja. Today you’re travelling to Kaduna on this road, it’s not the army that makes it possible for you to travel to Abuja, or travel to Kaduna, and vice versa. It is my men, employed by the government of the Nigerian state, stationed in Niger.” In those words, Asari Dokubo blew his own cover. He owned up to working in an undercover capacity or as a non-state actor in a sector which belongs exclusively to the Federal Government. He owned up to extra-judicial killings. He mentioned specific theatres of operation – Imo State and the Abuja-Kaduna highway. He named those who hired and paid him – “the government of the Nigerian state.” It was like a painter framing his own masterpiece.
Three of those states named by Asari Dokubo (Anambra, Imo & Abia) are in the Southeast. Two others and the Federal Capital Territory (Niger, Plateau and Abuja) are in the Middle Belt. Another state (Rivers) is in the South-South. All named territories have one thing in common in the last few years – random, unsolved killings and attacks on members of the opposition, rural farming communities and government facilities. Anambra, Imo and Abia were the epicentres of Unknown gunmen activities in the period leading up to the last elections. Niger and Plateau were the main theatres of operation for the so-called “Fulani herdsmen.” Kuje Prison within the FCT was attacked and inmates were set free. So, what exactly was Asari Dokubo’s “security brief” in a region (the Southeast) where Army and Police checkpoints adorn nearly every hundred meters of the highway? What was he doing in a state (Imo) where a special military task force was assigned to “crush” separatist agitations? What was he paid to do for a country that boasts of about a dozen security agencies with hefty yearly federal appropriations? More still, what “contract” is Asari desperately lobbying to retain with the new administration of President Bola Tinubu for which reason he broke all protocols of civility to support the Tinubu candidacy and gain his attention before and during the last elections? Why has he been so vociferous with his anti-Igbo rhetoric in courting the Tinubu camp – knowing that Igbophobia is one of the favourite weapons of the APC in its struggle to retain power after the failed Buhari years?
If you read between the lines and fill in the blank spaces, all the fingers point in one direction – Asari Dokubo is the man behind the mask of Unknown Gunmen. He was recruited and paid by the Buhari Administration, working closely with the Imo State Governor (Hope Uzodimma), to help deal with the threat of Biafra in Southeast Nigeria by unconventional means. Asari Dokubo in turn recruited, coordinated and paid the men who carried out all those killings and criminal activities to blackmail IPOB and ESN. Plus at least some of the mysterious attacks on villagers and facilities in the Middle Belt region. That’s what he meant when he boldly said, “I am a participant in this war.” The trouble with people who talk too much is that they ultimately talk themselves into trouble. Asari Dokubo has now talked himself into deep trouble – beyond being broke. Not only has he antagonized the armed forces which he was recruited to “help”, he has also given away the identity of the evil masquerade terrorizing the neighborhood.
In trying so hard to corner the next “security contract” after squandering what he was earlier paid for his hatchet jobs under President Buhari, Melford Asari Dokubo Goodhead has given away his own secret position. He is like a drunken and unprofessional sniper who uses his weapon indiscriminately. His enemies can see clearly where the deadly shots are coming from. His position in the bushes is no longer a mystery. The sniper himself is now a sitting duck. It’s only a matter of time before he too is sniped. That’s the way the cooky crumbles. – Culled from the Renaissance.
The opinions and views expressed in this write-up are entirely that of the Writer(s). They do not reflect the opinions and views of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or any of its employees. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of materials herein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or its employees concerning the legal status of any country, its authority, area or territory or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers. Equally, the sketches, images, pictures and videos are gotten from the public domain.
Self-Acclaimed Niger Delta Warlord Asari Dokubo pleading on the Federal Government to leave the Igbos go out of Nigeria.