Former Militants Back Jonathan

Ex-gunmen back current Nigerian President.

Once Terror of Nigerian Oil, Former Militants Back Jonathan

By Dulue Mbachu

As the Islamist group Boko Haram intensifies attacks in northern Nigeria, former militants in the Niger River delta who once cut oil production by almost a third have become some of the government’s biggest supporters.

Militant commanders like Government Ekpemupolo have gone from targeting Nigeria’s oil industry, riding around in speed boats with automatic weapons and explosives, to protecting it. He now runs the Global West Specialist Ltd. security company that has a $115 million contract with the National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

Ekpemupolo is one of a group of former militants, including Ebikabowei Victor Ben and Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who are prospering under the rule of President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s first leader from the region that’s the heart of Africa’s biggest oil industry. They form the backbone of support for Jonathan, 57, in the area as he seeks re-election in February, and have vowed to resist attempts by some opposition lawmakers to impeach him.

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