Dokubo’s trial begins

  • Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - Sam Akpe, Bisi Olaniyi and Tobi Soniyi with agency reports
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The leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujaheedeen Asari Dokubo, will be formally charged with treason, illegal assembly and conspiracy on Thursday (today) at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo, made this known to the Agence France Presse on Wednesday just as the Police interrogated the President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, Mr Ledum Mitee.

Dokubo had on September 22 appeared before the Federal High Court, Abuja. The court ruled that he should be kept in police custody on holden charge of alleged illegal assembly.

The ruling was in response to Ojo’s request for a two-week grace to prepare other charges against the NDPVF leader.

Dokubo’s lawyers had hoped on Wednesday morning that his case would be open to enable them ask for bail at the expiration of the mandatory two-week remand specified by the law.

One of Dokubo’s lawyers, Mr. Festus Keyamo, also confirmed that his client would be arraigned on Thursday.

“Hearing in the case has been deferred till Thursday at the Abuja Federal High Court. He will be charged with treason,” Keyamo told the AFP.

Also in Abuja, the Police quizzed Mitee for almost three hours over alleged suspicion of treason.

He was invited to the Force Headquarters in Abuja along with the former Secretary of MOSOP, Mr. Deeka Menegbon, and Mr. Uche Okwukwu.

Okwukwu, however, obtained an ordered from a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, restraining the police from arresting him.

Mitee and Okwukwu are also Dokubo’s lawyers. Menegbon died three years ago.

The letter summoning Mitee to the Force Headquarters was dated October 3, 2005 and signed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Amusa Bello.

Mitee told our correspondents after the interrogation that he was invited in connection with an alleged meeting convened by the NDPVF on how to overthrow the President Olusegun Obasanjo-led Federal Government.

He said the invitation was “appalling because it seems that we are rotating round the same circle that we were in the days of the late Head od State, Gen Sani Abacha.

“It is just the reminiscent of that time when people just floated rumours and called them security reports just for the purposes of getting at whoever they want and I thought that we had moved away from this but most regrettably we seem to be back in the same situation,” the MOSOP leader added.

Narrating what transpired at the Force Headquaeters, he said, “I was there and after waiting for about an hour or two to meet the commissioner who was quite polite, he said they were interrogating me in relation to this Dokubo thing.

“I asked, ‘What is the Dokubo thing?’ He said there was supposed to have been a meeting sometime in Benin at the end of August 29 or so.

“They showed me some e-mail messages and several organisations that were supposed to have met and MOSOP is listed there and several other organisations like the CLO (Civil Liberties Organisation).

“They were supposed to have taken some decisions one of which was that they will mobilise the people in the Niger Delta to overthrow this dictatorship.”

Mitee said he was asked to make a written statement when it became clear to his interrogators that he was never part of the meeting he was accused of attending.

Asked if MOSOP was represented at the meeting, he replied, “I don’t even know about the meeting he was talking about, that is the question.

“I asked the question, ‘Did they (intelligence officers) say I was there, or did Menegbon who is dead also attend?’

“They told me that they were depending on intelligence from the Port Harcourt end. So they asked me to make a statement on those issues, which I made.

“It was basically that I am the president of MOSOP and that MOSOP is an organisation that has sworn to non-violence but that we share in the aspiration of the people of the Niger Delta and the sense of injustice that the people have suffered over the years.”

Mitee became the president of MOSOP after the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa alongside others in November 1995 after a panel found them “guilty” of involvement in the killing of some prominent Ogoni elders.

Meanwhile, sources from the Crown Court in London said on Wednesday night that the Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alameiseiyegha, was yet to produce sureties for his bail as required by the court on Tuesday.

The court had for three sureties one to post a bond of one million pounds sterling; and the other two for the sum of £250,000 each, as part of the conditions for bail.

The Metropolitan Police was supposed to screen the sureties and report to the court on Friday.

The governor remains in police custody.

The Punch, Thursday, October 06, 2005

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