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Last Updated: Monday, 4 October 2004, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Profile: Nigeria's oil militant
Militia leader Dokubo Asari
Asari tried and failed to win elected office
Journalist Ebimo Amungo profiles Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, the leader of an armed group demanding more control of oil resources for the ethnic Ijaws, who are the biggest group in Nigeria's oil-producing region, the Niger Delta.

He is currently in custody on treason charges.

Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, known simply as Asari, is a 40-year-old Ijaw youth leader.

He was born Dokubo Melford Goodhead Junior, to a high court judge and a housewife.

He is the first of six children and had a middle-class upbringing in a Christian home.

He had his primary and secondary education in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and was described as a respectful child.

Asari gained admission to study law in the University of Calabar, but dropped out in his third year in 1990 after repeated clashes with school authorities.

He abandoned a second attempt to earn a degree in law at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology due again to his activism.

It was about this period that he converted to Islam and adopted the name Mujahid Dokubo-Asari.

Any means necessary

In 1992, Mr Asari attempted to get elected into the Rivers State House of Assembly but failed.

In 1998, he sought to be elected as the chairman of Asari-Toru local government area but lost again.


Mr Asari was a founding member of the Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, becoming its first vice-president in 1998.

In November 1998, the IYC issued the "Kiama Declaration", demanding control of the oil resources from the Niger Delta by the people of the Niger Delta.

There was an immediate crackdown on the body by the military junta that then ruled Nigeria.

Mr Asari became President of the IYC in 2001 and immediately changed the slogan of the body to "Resource Control and Self Determination By Every Means Necessary", signalling his readiness to do battle with the Nigerian state.

He condemned the 2003 elections, won by President Olusegun Obasanjo, as a fraud in full-page newspaper adverts, and promptly fell out with the governor of Rivers State.

Soft-spoken

Mr Asari took to the mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta and built up his now infamous Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force in 2004.

He launched a damaging military and propaganda war against the state and federal governments and those he described as their agents, prompting the government to initiate full-scale military operations against him.

Oilfields in Nigeria's Niger Delta
Asari says his people have not gained from the region's oil wealth
Even as he continued to fight against the government, Mr Asari called for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to discuss the place of the Ijaw people in the country.

His recent threat to blow up oil facilities in the Niger Delta forced the government to open up negotiations with him.

Mr Asari is a burly man of 5 feet 10 inches (1.78m). He is soft-spoken and an easy-going person who is passionate about his convictions, especially, on matters he views as injustice.

He is given to fits of anger.

He has no criminal record and is known to have been called upon by the police to help them out in difficult situations.

Mujahid Dokubo-Asari is a voracious reader who loves to visit friends to discuss issues.

He leads a strict Muslim life and is married to two wives, with six children.




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Mujahid Dokubo Asari demands self-determination



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