Niger Delta militants’ threat, despotism, Boko Haram lead newspapers
Threat to cause mayhem by Niger Delta militant leader over denial of second term for President Goodluck Jonathan, the opposition’s criticism of government’s transformation to despotism, and killing of militants are some of the stories that led national newspapers on Monday in Nigeria.”There will be no peace if Jonathan is not returned in 2015 – Dokubo Asari”, the Vanguard newspaper reported, explaining that ahead of 2015 general elections, Northern youths engaged former President of Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) and Leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, in a war of words over the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
Dokubo had fired the first salvo while addressing a press conference in Abuja as he declared that the Niger Delta region cannot guarantee peace in Nigeria if President Jonathan is not returned in 2015.
He also stated that after Jonathan’s presidency, the region will resume claim to the resources in the oil-rich Niger-Delta, saying that they are currently on sabbatical leave.
The Arewa youths, however, responded immediately warning Asari Dokubo to desist from beating the drums of war over the re-election of President Jonathan in 2015.
The Daily Independent newspaper also carried the story with the caption “Militancy will resume in Niger Delta if Jonathan doesn’t get second term -Asari-Dokubo”.
It said Asari-Dokubo has described the plans to grant amnesty to the members of the Boko Haram sect as a mistake, just as he declared that the peace being experienced in the Niger Delta region is mainly because Goodluck Jonathan is the President of Nigeria.
Asari-Dokubo threatened that the Niger Delta militants will return to the creeks as soon as Jonathan presidency is over.
The perceived despotic action of Jonathan trailing his opposition for 2015 re-election elicited the remarks of non-ruling major opposition political party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
The Nigerian Tribune newspaper captioned the story, “Presidency, ACN in verbal war; Jonathan’s government descending into despotism”.
It said ACN has raised the alarm that the Jonathan-led administration was steadily descending into despotism with a brazen assault on the freedom of expression and the press, the use of national institutions against perceived enemies and a growing inclination to denigrate opposition leaders.
“The Jonathan Administration is anchored on a Transformation Agenda. But the only transformation that we can see is the one from a democratically-elected President to an Emperor, a despot,” the party said in a statement in Lagos, on Sunday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
In its reaction, the Presidency hit back at the ACN maintaining that it was in fact the ACN that was home to budding despots in the country.
The continuing running battle with renegade militant group members in oil rich Niger Delta attracted the attention of some newspapers including the Guardian which reported “Eight feared killed in attack on Bayelsa community”.
The newspaper reported that gunmen, again, were on the prowl in a Bayelsa community, killing eight persons over the weekend. This tragedy came after 12 policemen were killed in the state recently.
Armed men suspected to be renegade militants in the Niger Delta launched the attack in Lorbia community of Southern Ijaw Local Council that claimed eight.
The Nation newspaper also led “Eight killed as militia groups clash in Bayelsa”, saying it was a gun battle between two rival ex-militia groups.
The victims, suspected to be armed militants regrouping in the state, were identified by operatives of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) Operation Pulo Shield as belonging to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
This Day newspaper reported the persistent call by Northern elders for the withdrawal of military from Borno and captioned “Baga Killings: Northern Elders Want Borno Military Commander Withdrawn”.
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday called for the removal of the Borno State Military Commander over his comments on the Baga killings even as it warned against a situation where foreign phobia against Islam will be imported into the country, saying the consequences could be disastrous.