RUGA: Return home – Asari Dokubo tells southerners

Asari Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, has called on southerners living in the Northern part of the country to return home.

The call from Mr Dokubo is in reaction to a similar one extended to herdsmen wherein the pastoralists were asked to leave the Southern region.

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) backed by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had requested Northern herders residing in the South to return to their respective regions. This is after the CNG issued a yet-to-expire 30-day ultimatum to opposing state governors who kicked against the implementation of Rural Grazing Areas (RUGA) for herdsmen in the domains.

For the former Niger Delta militant leader, no part of the South-South region will be given for the implementation of the initiative said to be a permanent solution to herders and farmers clash nationwide.

He called on Southerners living in the North to return home will as well as their Northern counterparts to follow suit.

“What has brought us here today is the dark cloud that is gathering. In 1967, we did not ask for war, war was imposed on us and millions of our people were killed. Our properties were destroyed and so many people until today are carrying the scars of that imposed war,” Mr Asari said after a meeting of leaders in the region on Friday.

“Our people have not gone to Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Borno to ask that land be forcefully given to us or that our resources should be used to give us properties in the north.

“But northern organizations and northern individuals have come up to say we must surrender our land to them to create colonies on our land. Are you going to allow that?

“We will not surrender one grain of sand of our sacred land to anybody. We will stand on our land and wait for you to come and carry out your threat and inshallah by the grace of God we will defeat you.

“We have heard that you have called your people to come back home. They should all go, we will assist them to leave (because) this is what we have been looking for all along.

“We call on our people, Igbo, Ibibio, Ikwerre, Ijaw return back home. If anything happens to you and these coward spines on you, you would have yourself to blame. We would not continue to risk our integrity and our pride because of you, return home now,” he added.

The militant warlord also condoled with Afenifere whose leader’s daughter, Funke Olakunrin, was killed by suspected armed herdsmen.