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Dokubo, in court, says 'the struggle is my life'

Posted by From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja on 2005/10/07 | Views: 618 |

Dokubo, in court, says 'the struggle is my life'


DETAINED leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF) Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, was yesterday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on a five-count charge of treason and felony.

DETAINED leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF) Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, was yesterday arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on a five-count charge of treason and felony.


He pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but was nonetheless defiant. Unbared by his travails, the militant group's leader thundered as he was being led to the court:


"The struggle for the freedom of my people is my life, today marks the beginning of the liberation of my people".


Security operatives had held up the arraignment for about 45 minutes.


The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Alhaji Suleiman Aliyu had arrived at the court premises with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) at 8.50 a.m. Aliyu had to make repeated calls to the security operatives, who had Dokubo in their custody just to help them with a vivid description of how to locate the court.


At 9.50 a.m., Dokubo arrived in a bus with about 12 armed mobile policemen guarding him. Inside the court, he raised a clenched fist chanting: "Freedom" while his loyalists responded in a similar manner as he walked towards them.


Swiftly, Dokubo and a suspected a member of the NDVF took off their shirts and exchanged with each other. Impeccable sources said he had wanted to put on a similar shirt with the picture of Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro, the renowned founder of the NDVF from his detention centre, but was stopped by the operatives.


But right in front of journalists and lawyers in the courtroom, Dokubo swapped his plain shirt, with that of his comrade, which bore the picture of Boro.


Revelling in that commando performance, Dokubo seized the opportunity to fault his arraignment; He said: "


The trial has not been fair. I was detained for 14 days without trial, without charges being read to me. But I believe that this marks the beginning of the freedom of our people."


Dokubo added: "We are not Nigerians. What we are saying is this: This marks the beginning of the freedom of all the nationalities by the oppressive British colonialism. Our belief is to bring freedom to our people and this marks the beginning of the freedom of our people...and I am prepared to make any sacrifice for my people. The struggle for the emancipation of my people is my life".


Shortly after, Justice Babs Keuwumi entered the court to start proceedings. He was just drafted to the Abuja Division of the Court and was sitting for the first time there.


The Justice Minister, leading about five lawyers from his office, announced appearance for prosecution, while Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, who led 11 others announced appearance for Dokubo-Asari.


Ojo sought the consent of the Court for Dokubo-Asari to be docked and the five count charges read to him aloud. Justice Keuwumi consented to it and Dokubo-Asari took his place in the dock as the court clerk read each count.


The charges read:



Count 1, that you: (1) Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, 'm', 41 years old of No. 13, Agudama Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt; and others (presently at large) on or about 28th August, 2005 at Samsy Hotel, Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: Treasonable felony; by forming an intention to:


Remove during his term of office otherwise than by constitutional means, President Olusegun Obasanjo as Head of State of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces thereof; and


levy war in order by force, constraint, to compel the President to change his measures, counsel and manifested such intention by overt acts; and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 41 and punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Chapter 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.


Count 2, that you: (1) Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, (m), 41 years old of No. 13, Agudama Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt, and others (presently at large) on or about 28th August, 2005 at Samsy Hotel, Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court committed treasonable felony against the Federal Republic of Nigeria by respectively belonging to militant groups known as the Niger Delta People Volunteer Force (NDPVF); Congress for the Liberation of Ikwere People (COLIP) and Chikoko Movement, which threatened to take up arms in order to intimidate and overawe the President and government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and manifested such intention by overt acts and you thereby committed a felony contrary to and punishable under S.41 of the Criminal Code Act, Chapter 77 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.


Count 3, that you, (1) Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, (m), 41 years old of No. 13 Agudama Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt; and others (presently at large) on or about 28th August, 2005 at Samsy Hotel, in City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court formed, managed and assisted in the management of unlawful societies of more than 10 persons respectively known and called Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Congress for the Liberation of Ikwere People (COLIP) and Chikoko Movement with objective of:


levying war on the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;


encouraging the killing and injuring of persons;


destroying, injuring and encouraging the destruction, and injuring of property;


subverting or promoting the subversion of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its officials;


committing, inciting acts of violence and intimidation;


interfering with, resisting, encouraging interference with or resistance to the administration of law; and


disturbing and encouraging the disturbance of peace in the Niger Delta states of Rivers; Delta; Edo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria contrary to section 62 (2) (1) and punishable under section 63 of the Criminal Code Act, Capt. 77, LFN 1990.


Count 4, that you: (1) Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, (m), 41 years old of No. 13, Agumadam Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt. And others (presently at large) on or about 28th August, 2005 at Samsy Hotel, Benin City, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court published a statement, rumour, report, which is likely to cause fear and false alarm to the public knowing or having reason to believe that such statement, rumour, report, is false and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 59 of the Criminal Code Act, Chapter 77 LFN 1990.


Count 5, that you: (1) Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, (m), 41 years old of No. 13, Agudama Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt; and others (presently at large) between year 2004 and 2005 at Port Harcourt, River State, Nigeria within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court are members of unlawful societies respectively called


"Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF).


Congress for the Liberation of Ikwere People (COLIP); and


Chikoko Movement and you thereby committed a felony contrary to and punishable under Section 64 of the Criminal Code Act, Chapter 77, LFN 1990.
"I am not guilty", he pleaded to all counts, one after the other.


Upon taking Dokubo-Asari's plea, Keyamo called the attention of the court to the provisions of section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantee the right of an accused person to enough time and facilities that would help him in defending himself against any charge.


"In line with the spirit of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, we ought to be given the publication of Daily Independent Newspapers, wherein the accused person incited the people against the Federal Government. We also ought to be served the statements contained in the said charge. We are also supposed to see the proof of evidence, which is the soul of the case", Keyamo submitted.


The defence counsel also declared that Dokubo-Asari was ready for trial and had therefore instructed his legal team not to bring any preliminary application to delay trial.


"Dokubo-Asari believes that the trial will show his innocence and the guilt of the Federal Government", Keyamo added.


In his response, Ojo said: "In view of my learned friend's application, we will give him the proof of evidence in the interest of justice, although we are not bound by law to give him any".


Justice Keuwumi, with consent of parties adjourned the matter till November 10 for definite trial.


 

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