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Asari Dokubo and Mohammed Yusuf

Love him or hate him, Asari Dokubo must be admired for his consistency in expressing his view without fear or favour. He supports causes with reasons and also courageously points out weaknesses of some of the causes. Lately he is reported to have rejected offers of appointment in government. When some members of his families and associates, he sponsored failed to win in the elections in Nigeria, he refuses to make noise or fight but believes philosophically in the will-of-God.

Stragely too, Dokubo is very passionate about the political struggle of his ethnic group in their quest for better share from the national economy where oil revenue from their areas account for the chunk of funds to the Federation Account. On the other side, he is not only a Muslim by name as a convert but an Islamic follower by conviction who studies the Quran and Hadith to the highest level. He is neither hypocritical in his belief like some so-called scholars and leaders who for selfishness and patronage from government would keep mute on the face of naked injustice.

He may dislike Northern elites for their ineptitude but defend the innocent and poor northerners, especially the minority who have been abused in that region. Before his famous sermon at the Presidential Villa where quoted copiously from the Islamic holy book on Allah's admonition that "God gives Power to whom he wishes and take power from whom he wishes," he has proven to doubting Thomases that he is well read on any issue of public interest.

In his effort to get himself well-acquainted with his religion, he took some daring venture in seeking for knowledge and even lived in harshest environment not meant for lily-livered. In that expenditure he met with so-called Boko Haram group.

We shared our views in an online forum, where once in a while he expressed his opinions. But on August 1, 2009 after watching a horrific video of extra-judicial massacre of some so-called members of Boko Haram including its leader, Mohammed Yusuf and gruesome public execution of former commissioner of Water Resources, Alhaji Buji Fai in daylight on a street by the police in Maiduguri, Borno State(similar fate befell Yusuf's father-in-law, Baa Fugu Mohammed who was allegedly killed on a visit to Police station), I responded to a posting by Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba from Boston, Massachusetts who had described the murder as "Cold blooded murder by the government and Acts against humanity." He advised that "the worst the government will now do is sweeping it under a carpet. The police officers responsible must be identified and tried and punished for the crime against humanity."

While traumatised by the video of poor souls killed in the mass-murder in a civilised society, in responding to Aduba, I pointed out that "It does not matter to some people and many would not care because the so-called Boko Haram killed by the security were not Niger Delta militants who could get an AMNESTY and Special Budgetary provision after destroying public infrastructure and killing members of the armed forces. I added that because they were mostly ÔÇśbloody Northerners' nobody care to defend them. I also restated the genesis of the crisis in Borno when I wrote: "it started when boko-haram followers were on procession to bury their lost members early in July 2009 and were ambushedÔÇŽ. without daring anyoneÔÇŽ by some forces and before you know it more members of that sect were mercilessly killed. Then the followers vowed to retaliate. My pain is that, as reported more than 300 innocent people had been killed. They are Nigerians, probably poor illiterates who may not have benefited from good education whether western or local to eke out a living. ÔÇŽ Nobody will stand for them because they lack lawyers and media. They are NIGERIANS like all of us. This is my mind. I may be carried away by emotion. It painful that bombs were alleged dropped from the air."

Asari Dokubo's response to my posting was swift and timely when he narrated his close encounter with same leaders of the so-called Boko-Haram. His posting received further comments from respected bloggers like Prof. Mobolaji Aluko who said "It is all an oligarchic reaction to maintain the status quo, whether in the North or in the South. And the security forces are the official armed wing of that oligarchy that has no ethnic affiliation or religion."

Also Dr. Nowa Omoigui supported our argument saying that he concurred "with calls for a full investigation of Police conduct in this matter. It is scandalous." While pro-democracy activist Yinka Odumakin said there had been a lot of disinformation about Boko Haram. The media has only been reporting the information being churned out by the government. Adding that information being presented "as if these (so-called Boko Haram were lunatics who just woke up and started burning down police stations and attacking people." He therefore advised that "The critical segment of our media should move in now to investigate these issues. We are tired of "Police commissioner said" and all those packaged versions."

Please note that the above commentators are neither Northerners nor Muslims but are sincere and forthright rather than allowing parochial and sectional sentiments to becloud their senses of reasoning.

It is necessary to provide unedited the response of Asari Dokubo to my posting on August 1, 2009 which he signed of as Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari with a title of ÔÇśAlabo Edi Abali Of Kalabari.' It goes thus: "Dear Yushau Shuaib, I met Yusuf and some members of the Salafiya Islamic organisation both at the Kuje prison and SSS underground. They were good Muslims and had humane and good public relations with all inmates irrespective of belief. Their name was not BOKO HARAM. They advocated hijra from the state of bidia and kufr to the state of sunnah and Islam (belief) .They were among the finest men I had met in life. Before our prison experience unknown to both of us, myself and Yusuf had met severally at the Indimi Mosque when I was frequenting Maiduguri as an Islamic student at Gamboru Ngala.

"The Indimi mosque was the center of sunnni and salafi activism and Sheikh Jafar Adams used to come from kano for Ramadan tafsir. I discovered during our discussion that all was not well between the group and sheikh Jafar Adams. Then they refer to them as Nigerian Talibans. I became thier advocate anytime I was taken to court, as their plight was dehumanising because most of them were held in chains for more than two years. We became very friendly during his few days stay. When he left I got closer to his remaining followers who he described as his fellow students. He was humble to a fault and was ready to discuss all issues without any show of arrogance as is customary with most so-called Islamic scholars. Those left behind such as Isam, Mohammed Ashaffa, Yusuf, Hussein, e.t.c became my Arabic teachers, Hussein who was an hafiz was my Quranic teacher and I started memorizing the Quran. After my release I established contact with Isam who I later suspected was now a government agent. In my relationship with them I came to understand their desire to be free to practice their faith without interference from others. I believe that is their right.

I agree with you that the government of the Nigerian state orchestrated and provoked the incident in Bauchi to justify the attack they are planning against us in the Niger Delta and they already have supporters in people like Okala. Yusuf Mohammed and his followers were a threat to evil and dubious status quo in the north which use Islam to perpetuate all the evil. The fear of the oligarchy was that Yusuf and his followers activities will strengthen other religious and national minorities to overthrow their dubious status quo in the north. I want them to know that, they will not perpetually maintain and sustain these evil status quo forever. May Allah reward Yusuf Mohammed and his followers shahada and admit to the highest rank in paradise. Amin. The Struggle Is Unstoppable."

The Message from all these interactions is that: we should be sincere in managing crises in the country. There is a need for thorough investigation on unfolding development to guard against undesirable elements that could be gambling in giving a dog bad a name. Have we forgotten the so-called NADECO bombing gimmicks during Abacha?

Those who kill innocent souls in whatever names or garbs should be investigated and prosecuted according to the law for fairness and justice.