WITH the outbreak of Boko Haram insurgency some years ago, there have been insinuations, allegations and counter- allegations about the sect’s sponsors. The trend has continued unabated, thereby raising questions on whether the alleged sponsors are superhuman, invincible or above the law.
Recently, the military authorities in a statement alleged that some elders in the Northeast do not want an end to the Boko Haram insurgency. The authorities went further to disclose that they know those who are behind the insurgency.
Jolted and baffled by the military’s allegations, the North’s socio-cultural organization, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and others urged the military to disclose the alleged sponsors.
In what looked like a breakthrough, troops recently intercepted and arrested a suspected Boko Haram financier and stimulants dealer, Mohammed Maina in Bama, Bama Local Government area of Borno State. The suspect, a native of Ngurosoye, came from Shuari village in Bama and was arrested with the sum of N1million cash and other items.
According to a statement issued by the Acting Director of Public Relations of the Army, Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman: “Investigation revealed that Mohammed supplies them kolanuts and other items especially stimulants. It further revealed that kolanuts is in high demand among the terrorists as it keeps them active at night. It is apparent also that he plies Maiduguri-Dikwa-Kulli axis where he gathers monetary and other material contributions from Boko Haram sympathizers along that axis and sends same to the terrorists camps.”
It seems the recent allegation by the Army authorities, and subsequent arrest of some alleged sponsors of the sect is a pointer that such allegations in the past might be factual.
It would be recalled that even before his demise, the then National Security Adviser (NSA) to then President Goodluck Jonathan, General Andrew Owoye Azazi (rtd) had alleged that Boko Haram insurgency is being sponsored by some politicians with vested interests in the 2015 polls.
Jonathan made the same allegation, when he said that there are Boko Haram members in his government
The current Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume was once arrested and arraigned in 2012 for allegedly sponsoring the Boko Haram sect. The Federal Government had alleged that Ndume, a senator representing Borno South, furnished the sect with information that aided their terrorist operations in Nigeria.
He was among others alleged to have furnished the sect members with the telephone numbers of top government officials and judges, including the phone number of the then Attorney General Federation (AGF).
The sect was said to have called some of those whose numbers were given to them and threatened to visit them with “fire and brimstone”. Till date, not much has been heard about the case.
On several occasions, the governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has said that he knows the sponsors of Boko Haram but will not name them.
Even the State Security Service (SSS) once summoned a serving Senator representing Borno Central District, now late Senator Ahmed Zanna, over his alleged involvement with the violent Islamic sect.
The summons was in connection with the arrest of a suspected member of the group, Shuaibu Bama, in a house believed to be the senator’s.
The Joint Task Force had arrested Bama in the building along Damboa Road in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, after soldiers stormed the house. The JTF had claimed that Bama was one of the commanders of the sect who had been under watch.
The senator denied that Bama had any links with the sect, although he admitted that he was his sister’s son. He described Bama as a “drug addict” who frequently threatened to kill members of his family.
He claimed that due to his behaviour, he had to send him out of his house, but could not explain how he found his way back to the house.
The senator also claimed that Bama was arrested in the house of a former governor of the state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, contrary to the report by the JTF.
When asked why the JTF linked Bama with him instead of Sheriff, the senator responded that it was a frame-up to pay him back for constantly attacking the JTF in the media.
In September last year, an Australian negotiator, Mr. Stephen Davis alleged that former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sherrif and former Chief of Army Staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika were among the sponsors of Boko Haram insurgency. While the DSS invited Sherrif twice for questioning, it never invited Ihejirika.
According to the then DSS Spokeswoman, Ms Marylin Ogar, the allegations made by Davis over sponsorship of the sect by some individuals were being investigated.
“As for the former governor, he has been invited twice by this service and the service has also invited him again,” she said.
She however defended Lt.-Gen. Ihejirika, saying that it was uncharitable to accuse the ex-army chief of sponsoring the sect.
The agency later said it had uncovered plots by certain persons to implicate the former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, with the view to portraying him as a Boko Haram sponsor.
Ogar continued: “Recall that on August 29, 2014, one Steven Davis, an Australian self-styled negotiator for the Boko Haram sect had alleged that Ali Modu Sheriff (senator) and Azubuike Ihejirika (Lt.Gen/rtd), former Governor of Borno State and former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) respectively were among chief sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.
Davis premised his ‘findings’ on discussions with several field commanders of the sect who allegedly expressed willingness of the sect to negotiate with the Federal Government if Davis would spearhead such dialogue. To buttress this, he posted a photograph of himself taken in 2013 with some alleged sect members.
“Based on the allegation, this Service initiated an in-depth-investigation into the matter. Consequently, seven associates of
Davis were arrested and it has been established that they were part of a well-orchestrated plan to spread falsehood, undermine and discredit efforts of government to end terrorism”.
The DSS alleged that the suspects had confessed to conspiring with Davis to implicate Sheriff, with monetary inducements of various sums.
Ogar also said the suspects claimed that Davis single-handedly “conjured” the indictment on Ihejirika, based on allegations that the military under Ihejirika was responsible for his several failed attempts to make contact with the Presidency.
The DSS also accused the Australian of assembling the suspects and presenting them to government negotiators as Boko Haram commanders, adding that the suspects also, at various times, posed with Davis on You Tube as some of the sect’s commanders.
This, Ogar said, was aimed at misleading the Federal Government and compelling it to negotiate with the “fraudulent group”.
However, neither the recent military’s arrest of some alleged sponsors of the sect, nor the naming of them in the past could or has provided the solutions in the fight against the menace. This is especially in the light of the fact that government and the relevant authorities have not been able to prosecute their cases to logical conclusion with incontrovertible evidences of their sponsorship.
There is no doubt that as long as the alleged sponsors of the sect remain elusive, unidentified, and unprosecuted, the December deadline to rout the insurgents may be a mirage.