Mr. Jonathan reportedly compelled neighbouring Benin Republic to release Mr. Dokubo-Asari
Ex-Niger-Delta militant, Mujahid Asaro-Dokubo, who was arrested last week in Benin Republic, was released after the tiny West African country came “under pressure” from President Goodluck Jonathan, the Benin Foreign Affairs ministry have confirmed.
Spokesperson of the ministry, Benjamin Agon, told Reuters “It was under pressure from the Nigerian head of state that the authorities freed the rebel chief on Friday at around midday.”
Until the Dokubo-Asari case, Mr. Jonathan was not known to personally intervene whenever Nigerians are incarcerated abroad.
Mr. Dokubo-Asari is a staunch loyalist of the President, and has repeatedly threatened to make Nigeria ungovernable if Mr. Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015.
However, contrary to Mr. Dokubo-Asari claim that he was arrested after being suspected of being a member of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, Mr Agon suggested that Mr. Dokubo-Asari’s arrest was related to his business interest in the country.
Another diplomat told Reuters that Mr. Dokubo-Asari’ militant group, Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force is being investigated for aiding criminality in the Niger Delta.
Mr. Dokubo-Asari has various business interests in Benin which he recently adopted home.
In an interview with Vanguard newspaper, Mr. Dokubo-Asari, who was released after two days in detention, said he was arrested for being a member of Boko Haram. He also confirmed that Mr Jonathan intervened to get him released.
“Crisis is normal; it can also happen here in Nigeria, it can happen anywhere in the world. The people and government of Republic of Benin have no problem with me. But if people alleged that somebody is a leader of Boko Haram, the government of that country will investigate the person, he said.
“It is not just only President Jonathan that intervened, Nigerians generally intervened. The number of people that came into Cotonou the day I was taken in, and the following day, were over one thousand.”