Determined not to bow to the popular wishes of Nigerians who are protesting against his government’s hike in fuel prices, President Goodluck Jonathan has resorted to hiring Niger Delta militants to threaten labor union activists who are currently leading their workers in a nation-wide strike. Our sources within the government revealed that Asari Dokubo, an ex-Niger Delta militant turned government lackey, had been recruited to coordinate the intimidation of critical sectors of the protesters.

In interviews earlier today, two officials of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) told SaharaReporters that Asari Dokubo had made several threatening phone calls to Folorunso Oginni, the chairman of the Lagos zone of PENGASSAN, as well as Comrade Babatunde Ogun, the group’s national president.

“Asari Dokubo told our leaders that oil platforms will be occupied by Niger Delta militants if PENGASSAN decides to shut down production in solidarity with the ongoing labor strike,” said one source.

One source in the Presidency disclosed that President Jonathan had funneled funds to Asari Dokubo and a few Niger Delta militants in a bid to use them to harass striking unions.

“Nigerians and the world need to know that President Jonathan is personally authorizing and funding militants with a history of violence to intimidate labor leaders whose only offense is that they are pursuing legitimate demands through time-honored means,” said a lawyer who said he had been made aware of the threats.

Asari Dokubo’s threats to PENGASSAN officials come on the heels of a secession threat made by Ankio Briggs, a prominent female member of President Jonathan’s inner circles. In a communiqué issued last night under the auspices of “Niger Delta Occupy Niger Delta Resources,” Ms. Briggs stated that, “If Jonathan, a Niger Delta son is not good enough to govern Nigeria, the oil in his Niger Delta is not good enough for Nigeria.

“If the Niger Delta people are not good enough to be part of good governance in Nigeria, then our oil and gas of the Niger Delta people is not good enough for Nigeria.”

A source in Aso Rock told SaharaReporters that Ms. Briggs’ hardly veiled secessionist threats and declarations were directly encouraged and funded by President Jonathan in a bid to intimidate Nigerians who have flooded streets to protest his administration’s callous raising of the price of fuel.

Shortly after the threats were made, Thisday newspaper wrote a report claiming that some Niger Delta militants had surrounded oil platforms in the Niger Delta region. The reports were quickly dismissed by PENGASSAN officials who said they had received no confirmation of such developments from their members in the region.

A reliable source in the Presidency told SaharaReporters that President Jonathan seriously believes his administration could ride out the current massive protests by using bribery to various interests, including several media owners. The source disclosed that Mr. Jonathan was sending emissaries to traditional rulers as well as publishers and editors considered susceptible to material inducement.

The source added that President Jonathan’s funding of Asari Dokubo and other Niger Delta militants was part of a broader scheme by the president to use ethnicity to divide the country. The source pointed to a recent noticeable change in Mr. Jonathan’s wardrobe, stating that it was a deliberate ploy by the president to give the impression that he is aligned with the people of the south east.

“Anyim Pius Anyim has been coordinating support for Jonathan among Ndigbo,” said the source, adding that Mr. Anyim and a few southeast governors have promoted the view that the agitation against Jonathan arose because of the president’s decision to hand over to an Igbo president in 2015.

But an Igbo civil society activist described such divisive tactics as regrettable, adding that he was aware that President Jonathan “is already planning to run for another term. Besides, it is childish for Jonathan to promise Igbos or anybody that he will hand over to them.”