The Nigerian Army has categorically refuted any association or partnership with former Niger Delta militant leader, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, and his purported private security outfit. Asari-Dokubo recently made claims during an interview on a Channels Television podcast, asserting that he operates a private military company commissioned by the Nigerian government to collaborate with the military in various states across the nation.
During the podcast hosted by Seun Okinbaloye, Asari-Dokubo stated, “I don’t have an army but I have a private military company that was engaged by the Nigerian government and I have been doing the work for the Nigerian state. Private military companies exist all over the world; we have Black Waters, we have Wagner; we have so many private military companies. So, I have a private military company that is engaged by the government and we are fighting side by side with the Nigerian military in many places. Like Niger, Plateau, Abia, Imo, and parts of Rivers State. We were in Anambra too. We are doing a good job and we are being commended by the host communities.”
However, when approached for verification, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, promptly clarified the stance of the Nigerian Army. He emphasized that the Army has never participated in any collaborative effort or joint operation with Asari-Dokubo’s group in any region or theater of operations within the country.
In his statement, Brig. Gen. Nwachukwu explained, “Going by that interview, Dokubo claims he owns a private military company that was engaged by the government of Nigeria. The veracity of his claim can only be ascertained by the relevant agency, statutorily mandated to license such outfits. However, it must be clarified that the Nigerian Army is not in any form of partnership or collaborative pact with the ex-militant or whatever private security outfit he claims to own.”
The Director of Army Public Relations further reiterated, “It is also expedient to place on record that contrary to his claims, the Nigerian Army has never conducted any operation jointly or side by side with Asari or the organisation he represents, in any of those areas he mentioned or in any theatre of operations.”
The Nigerian Army’s unequivocal disavowal underscores the need for clarity and transparency in matters of national security and military collaboration. Asari-Dokubo’s assertions, while intriguing, will require scrutiny from the appropriate regulatory bodies to establish their legitimacy.