Reports have it that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has barred Asari Dokubo and other ex-Niger Delta militant leaders from visiting him in the presidential villa, Abuja.
LEADERSHIP Newspaper reports that recent requests for courtesy visits by notable militant leaders and ethnic militias from the oil-rich region to Tinubu in the villa have lately been disapproved by the presidency.
It was gathered that the decision was taken in the aftermath of the visit to Tinubu by the leader of the defunct Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujarhedeen Asari-Dokubo, on June 16 this year.
Asari-Dokubo, a die-hard and staunchest supporter of Tinubu, backed and supported the president in the run-up to the 2023 presidential election.
It was gathered that Tinubu, in ordering the action, was disturbed by public utterances and actions of Asari-Dokubo in the aftermath of his visit to him days after he assumed the mantle of leadership of the country.
A source in the Presidency told LEADERSHIP that Tinubu was bothered that all “verbal vituperation and militant activities” of Asari-Dokubo in the Niger Delta were subsequently linked to him after the June audience with the notable activist.
As he stepped out of the Villa, Asari-Dokubo, in a chat with the State House reporters, took on the Armed Forces, accusing its personnel of being neck-deep in economic sabotage, especially crude oil theft and vandalism of oil equipment in the region.
The allegation, it was revealed, embarrassed and shocked Tinubu, especially because he made the shocking revelation, moments after departing his office.
Dependable sources in the presidency told this paper that Dokubo’s outbursts against the military within the vicinity of the villa gave the inkling that the president shared the same views with the notable ex-militant commander.
The publication gathered that the presidency was ruffled by the attacks on the president by notable Nigerians over the utterances and actions of Asari-Dokubo, especially his effrontery in the reckless public assemblage of gun-wielding youths in his enclave in Rivers State.
The gun-bearing renegades often appeared in viral videos with Asari-Dokubo, assuming commanding roles.
Asari-Dokubo’s unacceptable conduct in the eyes of the presidency moved beyond tolerable level when he took on the Rivers State governor, Siminalayi Fubara, threatening to deal with the chief executive of the oil-rich state.
The presidency was said to be irked that his association with the president continued to give a wrong signal to the public that he enjoyed the support and backing of the nation’s number one citizen.
LEADERSHIP learnt that the president has ordered that he would no longer play host to the ex-militant commanders and militias in the villa apparently to forestall the negative impression and unenviable signal such association was likely to create in the psyche of the public.
To this end, one of our sources in the presidency told this newspaper that all individuals known to be linked with the Niger Delta ethnic crisis and oil industry unrest in the region, who requested for courtesy visits and audience with the president in the aftermath of the Asari-Dokubo’s experience, had their applications declined by the Presidency.