Big Oil-based corruption and fear of Boko Haram incite conflict among Niger Delta fighters for justice
by TaShawn Ransome
In life you never know who you will meet. I say this while reflecting upon my decision to visit Nigeria last December 2015. I would have never imagined I would stumble into a man who is part of a situation that can impact so many lives in a negative or positive way depending on how this story plays out.
When I arrived at the airport in Lagos last year, I was escorted by the kindest man I had ever met. My travel itinerary contained plans of travel to Warri and then to visit the rivers area of Delta State to help victims affected by the oil spills.
We made it to Warri, but we never reached the rivers area due to high crime, military action and oil pipeline and facility bombings. At the time, the incidents were being blamed on Tompolo; I know this because while there I became interested in Nigerian news and we would read the local papers daily.
What I did not know is the extent of involvement my host played in the situation. Nor did I know that his involvement would lead to my own.
Fast forwarding to today and here we are: bombings still occurring in the delta region, Tompolo still being framed, and me assisting Akwenuke Bolaino Marho, the nice man who met me at the airport in Lagos December 2015, to tell his story of involvement – not only how he is involved but also to disclose the real culprit behind the Shell and Chevron Texaco oil facility bombings.
In one of the most recent conversations that I had with Bolaino, he mentioned that tribal tension had been on the rise and if things continued, his tribe, the Urhobo, and the Ijaw tribe, to which Tompolo belongs, may fight each other. As I asked him why, this conversation ensued:
TaShawn: So why will your tribe (Urhobo) fight the Ijaws?
Bolaino: They are trying to frame me up. I will not fold my hands and allow people to kill Americans and blame it on my organization. The only thing that will solve all this is if that pastor is arrested. Ijaw and Urhobo people are killing each other more each day in the villages, and the man who is responsible for this is going out to party.
TaShawn: Who is this man you speak of?
Bolaino: The man is the devil incarnate himself. He succeeded in making the Itsekiri and Ijaw fight endlessly in Delta State many years ago. He succeeded then and he is succeeding again. This time around the death rate from a tribal war between Urhobo and Ijaw going the way it is already will be devastating. My parents’ house will be burnt to ashes, and all houses in the area.
As it is now, there is already a refugee crisis as Ijaw people are moving out of my area in Udu, which is an Urhobo community. Some are being harassed and assaulted, and Tompolo has told me that if all this should continue we will fight each other.
TaShawn: Do you want to fight Tompolo ?
Bolaino: No, I do not want to fight. I want peace.
TaShawn: Have you told anyone else about this?
Bolaino: I have been telling everyone for the past few weeks how they want to give me a name that is not my own. From the FBI and CIA to the State Department, my country, my senator, my ministers etc. – they are acting like imbeciles, as if they don’t know A from B. They are forcing my hand. I have called the Nigerian Army, DSS (Department of State Services, similar to the FBI), all of them. I have called the minsters I know. They pick up the call and pretend to listen and tell me they will do something about it, but all the while, things are escalating.
TaShawn: How has the situation escalated – and you never mentioned the pastor’s name?
Bolaino: His name is Ayo Oristsejafor. He is now moving his guns and weapons from his church to Urhobo communities to fuel tribal war. They plan on blowing up a Chevron facility and putting the blame on me and my movement (MFPND). That is why I had to go to the creeks this period to plan for this. I have written about this man. There are a lot of things he has done. If there is a Satan, that is who he is.
TaShawn: So why are you telling me and how do you expect these agencies to help?
Bolaino: I want you to expose this man. It is the only way to end this situation. There is evidence to put him in prison, but Nigerian people are scared of him because he is a pastor. If you can help to expose him, everything will be over – the militancy in the region etc.
TaShawn: What kind of evidence do you have and are you sure it will stick to him?
Bolaino: I can tell you everything, if you agree to help and are willing to listen. You will need to write all of this down.
TaShawn: Alright I will do what I can to help and am ready to listen.
Bolaino: Ok, firstly, Pastor Ayo is the chief sponsor of the militant group The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
TaShawn: Are you are saying that Tompolo is not the one giving the NDA orders?
Bolaino: That is exactly what I am saying. He (Pastor Ayo) sponsors them by giving weapons and ammunition. He gives them targets to bomb in the Niger Delta.
TaShawn: Now Bolaino how can you allege that a pastor is the sponsor of such a deadly group? What proof do you have of this allegation?
Bolaino: Yes, we have very strong proof of his involvement in the bombings in the Niger Delta. But we will only show the evidence to incorruptible government lawyers, and we are ready to stand in a competent court of law to defend our allegations. I assure you we have corroborative evidence against this man, and the media can attest to its truthfulness. I want to discuss this evidence with men and women of the press.
TaShawn: OK, what exact evidence do you have on the pastor?
Bolaino: First and foremost, the pastor uses his private airplane to ferry drugs and guns from America and parts of Europe to Nigeria. He has been caught once by the authorities, but the corrupt government of the former president of Nigeria swept it under the rug.
TaShawn: Why did the former president not apprehend the pastor at that time he was caught?
Bolaino: The plane was purchased with money from the government scams involving the Nigerian Army. At the time, the pastor was helping corrupt government officials in Nigeria to launder money with his bank Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank. They were stealing money meant for fighting insurgency in the northeastern part of Nigeria. At the time, Col. Sambo Dasuki was in charge of ripping the army off from the inside, since he was in government at the time.
TaShawn: Please explain more in depth how these men, Dasuki and Ayo, operated inside the scandal?
Bolaino: They were supposed to buy airplanes, weapons and ammunition for the Nigerian Army fighting Boko Haram, but these monies were never spent on the things that were needed to be purchased.
TaShawn: Is this a factor in why Boko Haram is still at large in northern and northeast Nigeria presently?
Bolaino: Yes, as a result, Boko Haram invaded the Northeast and Nigerian army men were running away from the battlefield because they were not well equipped enough and they became mutinous.
TaShawn: Is that the only evidence you have?
Bolaino: No, we have more. We have evidence that he was caught once more working with Hezbollah organization in Nigeria. They were helping him to buy weapons in South Africa when his plane was caught with over $9 million.
When they questioned him as to what he intended to do with that large sum of money, the response was that he wanted to buy arms and ammunition from a South African defense contractor. After the claims were investigated, they were found to be false.
This led us to believe that he was preparing for secession in Nigeria if the ruling party at the time lost. Prior to that time, he and others at large had tried to assassinate Mr. Muhammadu Buhari in a twin car bomb attack in Kaduna. Fortunately, Buhari survived.
TaShawn: Bolaino, how did you come to learn all this information?
Bolaino: The pastor told us in an informal gathering of warlords that period that they did it because they did not want Buhari to survive; they knew that if they allowed him to contest in the election, they would lose and he would win. Afterward the pastor came up with the “BuhariBokoHaramOp.” See, at the time, he was the leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), so he had a cult following – and he still does to this day.
TaShawn: What do you mean by “he had a cult following” and exactly how did the pastor use his following to further his agenda?
Bolaino: I mean he had a mass following of pastors and their members who would do as he said with no questions asked. He started telling his pastors and their members in churches all over Nigeria that Buhari is a terrorist, that Buhari planned to Islamize Nigeria if he won.
TaShawn: Since you say “we” a lot, I am assuming there are witnesses other than yourself who can attest to this information you are sharing with me today?
Bolaino: Yes, we have numerous witnesses to this scandal – myself being one, of course. But Pastor Ayo and his followers did this for a long time. Even until this day that propaganda still thrives on; hence the current disposition of my fellow warlords to Buhari.
They still honestly believe that Buhari is the sponsor of the Boko Haram. They don’t know any better otherwise. But as God would have it, everything they did in trying to kill Buhari or spoil his image was in vain.
At the time of the past election, it has to be mentioned that the pastor was campaigning for PDP, which is the party of the former president (Goodluck Jonathan).
TaShawn: OK, so to backtrack a little, you mentioned you are a warlord but that you currently want peace. Are you saying that some warlords in Nigeria are fighting for peace?
Bolaino: Yes, I am a warlord, and once again, yes, I and other warlords want peace to reign throughout Nigeria, as there is no reason to fight. The problem is corruption and greed.
To add to my earlier information, we received word of Ayo’s involvement in the assassination attempt on Buhari in 2014 by a former Hezbollah operative we caught at sea after the act. He confessed to it before he died. That was when we started to connect the dots between him and the Hezbollah network in Delta State.
After his candidate lost, he sent a mole into the APC (opposing political party) in the person of Chief Ayiri Emami.
TaShawn: Who is this Chief Ayiri, what is his background and why did Pastor Ayo choose him as a mole?
Bolaino: Ayiri is known in Warri as a popular assassin and ritualist, so he was welcomed into the APC. Ayiri made sure to enter the APC two days after it was announced that his former party, the PDP, had lost the election.
The APC, being a party of Northern extraction, did not fully understand the workings of the Niger Delta politicians and warlords. So it was from here on that the Niger Delta agitation was hijacked by Pastor Ayo and his cohorts. This is where everything started; this is where the story is today.
TaShawn: And what of Tompolo and how are you so deeply involved and knowledgeable of all this information that no one else will speak of?
Bolaino: Tompolo is a good man, a man that I owe immense gratitude to. He is the one that inspired me to join the Niger Delta struggle for resource control. He was always helping the poor and making them millionaires overnight.
It was strange because no one else in the region had ever done anything like it before. Although he was an outlaw when I first met him, he was given amnesty and I was not, so I began working with Pastor Ayo and Ayiri.
TaShawn: Ayiri, Ayo, Tompolo and you are warlords? Any other names I should know of that pertain to this story?
Bolaino: Ayiri is a warlord for all the Itsekiri people of Delta State. You have to also know that Pastor Ayo is also of the Itsekiri tribe, with the former governors of the Delta State. Chief Ibori, who was the first democratic governor of Delta State, is half Urhobo and half Itsekiri.
It was through his cousin, Gov. Uduaghan, who is the immediate past governor of Delta State; he is also Itsekiri, and he is also the brains behind the whole NDA operation. He does the planning, strategizing etc.
He is a brilliant man, but he only uses his brilliance for evil. He is the evil genius behind all this and he is also the one who set Ibori up.
Ibori is currently serving jail time in the U.K. Ibori, his wife Nkoyo, and his sisters and lawyers are all serving time in the U.K. They were all set up by the same people who are about to set me and Tompolo up. So I started working with Pastor Ayo.
TaShawn: Why is Ibori in jail?
Bolaino: There are newspaper articles to corroborate what I am saying. These things are public knowledge – well, not all but some. They are deceiving the Deltans. Did you not hear of the Monseca law firm scandal?
Bolaino: That indicted many prominent men and women of the world for tax evasion and financial crimes. Ibori is highly implicated in that scandal, as his name was released in the leaks. Google it. The British government intends on leveling new fresh charges against him.
TaShawn: All right, now please tell me what you want the media and press to do? Especially the American press.
Bolaino: I have gone to British media many times. They know all this but are afraid to do anything. Many people only hear my name but they do know my face. I need to put a face to my name for the sake of peace to reign.
I want you and others to take this issue very seriously, please. We want these things to be published everywhere in news in the U.S. because what is happening now concerns them a lot. It is common knowledge that American and British companies like Shell and Texaco operate in Delta State. The Niger Delta Avengers have been blowing up Shell facilities, but they have not been blowing up much of Texaco facilities.
TaShawn: Do you know why it’s mostly the Shell facilities being bombed?
Bolaino: Good question, yes I do. Shell operates in the Ijaw part of the Delta State, namely the Shell oil exporting tank at Forcados, in Ogulagha Kingdom, while Chevron Texaco is located in the Itsekiri part of Delta State. Texaco has an oil exporting tank farm at Ugborodo in Warri Southwest Escravos of Delta State. (Warri Southwest Local Government Area (LGA) boasts some of the largest proven oil and gas reserves in the Niger Delta.)
TaShawn: Are you going to get to how this all escalates into tribal conflict and future war?
Bolaino: Yes, that is where I am going to. You have to know that for many decades the Ijaws and Itsekiris have been fighting tribal war in the Delta State. The fight is usually on and off, and when they fight, they burn down everywhere in Warri.
The reason my family and I moved to the area where we are currently staying is because of the tribal fighting in that part of Warri where we used to stay. They were always burning down houses, and the house we were staying in Ogborikoko at the time was owned by an Ijaw man. So we were at risk of our house being burnt by the Itsekiris at any time.
So after the former president (Goodluck Johathan) lost the election and Ayiri switched into the APC just two days after his former party lost the election, it was assumed that Ayiri had betrayed them at the federal government level of the PDP.
TaShawn: So who are the Urhobo and Isoko preparing to fight presently?
Bolaino: Currently the Ijaws. Pastor Ayo is giving us all the weapons we need to fight.
TaShawn: So why aren’t you happy about this? Why tell me to expose the man who is helping you?
Bolaino: He is a bad man. The reason I am angry is because he tried to kill me when I refused. If not that I am a strong man, a man of the spirit, then I would be dead by now and my son would be fatherless for sure, but God disgraced him.
TaShawn: Why are they fighting?
Bolaino: They are fighting because the pastor set us up to fight and gave the order.
TaShawn: So in Nigeria one must fight when a pastor gives the order, because he is a warlord who hands out weapons to them?
Bolaino: Yes, Jesus is God in Nigeria; anything church – if you oppose it, they will kill you. Do you know how many thousands of people pastors have killed in Delta State? You don’t. They sent people to my house. My father and mother have relocated to other regions.
Right now he is distributing guns out to people under his boy Ayiri and others at large. Pastor Ayo is the one who told the king of Aladja and Urhobo Community that God revealed to him that if he does not tell his fellow Urhobo kings to drive out Ijaws from Urhobo land, the Ijaws will take over all of Urhobo land in the next year 2017 with the Biafrans.
The Biafrans have vowed to tear Nigeria apart by January next year to fulfill America’s prediction of Nigeria breaking into pieces in 2017.
TaShawn: Do you know why Pastor Ayo is doing all this?
Bolaino: He is doing all this to escape prison. Many of the people he shared federal government money with – money meant to fight Boko Haram – are currently in prison. They are mentioning his name in statements, and soon he will be indicted.
So he is doing this in order to escape being arrested. This is what he told me before trying to kill me. He tried to kill me in his church; this is where we hold meetings and that is also where he stores the weapons for the NDA.
Tompolo and I were preparing to submit all our weapons to the government, but our hands are being forced to fight one another. If this pastor is caught, the bloodshed will cease.
So please, tell this story. Send it to whomever you can, tell them you have visited Warri and seen how dirty it is, but how rich the politicians are. There are many witnesses to the story. Tell them everything you know.
And lastly, explain to the press that this story is far deeper and that this is only the beginning. That if they can contact Ibori in the U.K. prison, he is willing to give interviews and tell them more. He knows everything, because he is the one that started everything and we are all just trying to be like him.
TaShawn: I will do my best to help and do as you have asked me to. Thank you for sharing.
Bolaino: Thank you.
Similar stories published by the news media are listed here for reference:
http://saharareporters.com/2015/08/11/corruption-probe-peace-committee-shocked-meeting-president-buhari This is when they went to see Buhari and beg him not to arrest the pastor.
https://www.naij.com/515898-nigerians-really-think-buharis-meeting-peace-committee.html This tells of one northern politician who tried to expose him but failed as they threatened to kill him.
http://www.lindaikejisblog.com/2015/04/warri-billionaire-ayiri-emami-dumps-pdp.html?m=1 This is the story of Ayiri betraying the PDP and joining the APC.
http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/05/know-bombing-pipelines-buhari-go-ayiri-emami/ Tompolo and MFPD begin to be blamed.
http://www.tv360nigeria.com/group-says-ayiri-behind-recent-pipeline-bombings-in-niger-delta/ People tried to expose him but were laughed at.
http://punchng.com/ive-nothing-niger-delta-avengers-tompolo/ Tompolo says he is innocent.
http://dailypost.ng/2016/05/31/we-warned-you-to-avoid-nigerian-government-niger-delta-avengers-mock-tompolo/ NDA acknowledges that Tompolo is not their sponsor.
http://dailypost.ng/2015/07/16/efcc-investigates-uduaghans-administration/ Uduaghan, who is the brains of the NDA, might escape arrest.
http://www.lindaikejisblog.com/2014/10/pics-warri-billionaire-ayiri-emami-buys.html?m=1 Ayiri spending money on his wife.
http://www.nairaland.com/3025951/caption-photo-uduaghan-ibori-okowa This tells of a time when things were going well for Ibori.
More news links about Pastor Ayo Oritsejefor:
TaShawn Ransome, 26, is a student at Fullsail University completing her bachelors in internet marketing. A mother, lover of art, and activist against corruption worldwide, she is helping to reestablish peace and prosperity throughout Nigeria. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.