Sunday, 21 December 2014

What I Know About Boko Haram ––Ali Modu Sheriff Opens Up

Former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has opened up on what he knows about the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents currently ravaging states in the northeast and some other parts of the country, while disclosing that only the neighbouring Republic of Chad could help solve the menace.

Sheriff, while speaking in a BBC Hausa Service magazine programme on Saturday, denied reports saying that Boko Haram started during his tenure as governor of Borno State between 2003 and 2011. He revealed that the radical religious sect actually started in Yobe State in 1992, and that he has been trying to find a lasting solution to it, including talking to the Chadian government.

But it would be recalled that when the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners visited the Chadian embassy in Abuja recently to find out the connection between Chad and the Boko Haram insurgents, the ambassador said that his government had no connection to the sect.

The ambassador also alleged that if there was any person that should be held responsible for it, it should be the Nigerian government which had repeatedly claimed to know where the Chibok girls are being kept.

When the ambassador was queried on the alleged report of the botched ceasefire deal, which was celebrated across the country and handled by the Chadian President, Idriss Déby, and the report that Mr Mahamat Bichara Gnoti, a close associate of the Chadian president, was reported to have been apprehended on the Chadian-Sudan border with 19 SAM2 missiles he allegedly purchased from the Sudanese army for Boko Haram terrorists, the ambassador claimed that he only read about the news on the pages of newspapers just like other persons.

But the former governor, who is also at the centre of a controversy surrounding the sponsorship of the Boko Haram insurgency, following claims by an Australian negotiator, Steven Davis, that he and a former chief of army staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika, were allegedly backing the insurgents, said Chad could help in solving the issue.

He alleged that the Borno State government was responsible for the orchestrated plot to frame him up with the Boko Haram sponsorship allegation in order to defame his character.

Keeping mute on how Chad could possibly help in solving the problem, Sheriff added that since he is one of the few politicians that has benefitted greatly from the kindness of Borno State, as such he is doing whatever it is to help solve the insurgency.

“Nothing preoccupies my mind in Nigeria presently like the return of peace in Borno. When Borno State was peaceful, there was no place I cherished to stay in the world like Maiduguri. I, my friends, my confidants, my parents and all the schools I attended are in Maiduguri.

“Therefore, I am more concerned than anybody in this country, because what Borno State did for me has not been done to any other indigene. You know, in Borno State, a governor has never been re-elected apart from me; in Borno State, no senator has ever been elected thrice apart from me. So, Borno people have done everything for me, and there is no one in this world that I know other than Chad, which I think could help Borno,” he said.

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