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NDPF leader doubts government can stop Boko Haram

ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- An NDPF leader said he is doubtful of the Nigerian government's ability to contain Boko Haram.

Niger Delta People Volunteer Force leader Alhaji Asari Dokubohas stated that former military rulers Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida's lack the ability to stop Boko Haram's militant activities, despite their public condemnations of the group.

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Dokubohas remarked that Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida's pledges to struggle to maintain Nigerian unity is illusory and instead called for formation of vigilante groups to cope with the nation's security issues.

Dokubohas said Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck will convene a Sovereign National Conference "whether he likes it or not," The Daily Trust newspaper reported Tuesday.

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"The amnesty program is a bribe," Dokubohas said. "They gave the bribe to some people who are running around kidnapping, doing bunkering and said, 'Stop. Let the oil flow.'

"That is just what the amnesty is. I did not take amnesty. How can you criminalize me for me from benefiting from my resources? It is immoral.

"But having said that, have there been benefits from the amnesty program? Yes, there have been. The people managing the amnesty process have tried," he said.

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The issue of oil revenues is Nigeria's most contentious political topic. A member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, producing 2.5 million barrels per day, Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporter and the world's 14th largest oil producer.

While oil revenues should provide prosperity for Nigeria's 160 million citizens, since energy exports provide 95 percent of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings and about 80 percent of the government's budgetary revenues, in fact about 57 percent of Nigerians live on less than $1 a day.

That has led to a surge of unrest in the country's oil producing regions, particularly the Niger Delta, where the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has been battling government forces for years.

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Now the government is also battling Boko Haram, an Islamic fundamentalist organization in northern Nigeria that it is fighting to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria.

While an amnesty program has recently removed many disaffected MEND rebels from battling the government, Boko Harma's activities' continue unabated.

"We are in a position now like the United States was in after 9/11," Nigerian Defense Minister Haliru Bello, speaking to the BBC about Bobo Haram.

Since 2010 Boko Haram attacks have resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 people in northern and central Nigeria. The violence began in July 2009, when Nigerian security forces captured Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf, who was executed along with dozens of other Boko Haram suspects.

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When Boko Haram re-emerged the following year, its members began attacks on police and other government security agents, Christians and their churches and Muslims who are either critical of the group or perceived as collaborators.

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