Indications emerged yesterday that the Federal Government negotiated with fake members of the Boko Haram terrorist group in its bid to proffer solution to the scourge of terror that has bedevilled the nation since 2009.
The revelation came even as the Department of State Security Service, DSS, announced the arrest of an aide to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Mr. Junaid Idrissa Khadi.
The agency also paraded several suspects, which it said were part of a well-orchestrated plan to spread falsehood, undermine and discredit efforts of the government to end terrorism.
In August, an Australian, Stephen Davis had alleged that former Borno State governor, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff and former Army chief, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, were among the chief sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.
Davis had premised his “findings” on discussions with several field commanders of the sect, who allegedly expressed willingness to negotiate with the Federal Government if he (David) would spearhead the dialogue.
He had also posted a photograph of himself taken in 2013 with some alleged sect members.
While the DSS said two out of the five hooded men in the picture were still at large, it however gave the names of the other suspects as Abubakar Yusuf, Saleh Alhaji Ibrahim, Abdullahi Salehn Nurudeen Ibrahim, Mubarak Admu and Mustapha Maidugu.
Spokeswoman of the DSS, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar, who paraded the suspects in Abuja, said Khadi confessed to have known Davis since 2006.
According to the DSS spokesperson, Khadi said he deliberately conspired to blackmail and implicate ex-governor Ali Modu Sheriff and one Mala Othman, a former state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC as sponsors of Boko Haram.
He said the claim was to add weight to their own scam and compel the Federal Government to negotiate with the fraudulent group.
“However, when the attempt failed, he sold the idea directly to Davis,” Ogar said.
Khadi also said it was Davis, who single-handedly conjured the indictment of Ihejirika based on allegations that the military under the former army chief was responsible for the several failed attempts by the Australian to make contact with the Presidency.
“He denied ever discussing with Davis that Ihejirika was a Boko Haram sponsor. He stressed that at no time during their interactions were such allegations made against Ihejirika and wondered why this should arise.
“He organised several meetings between the purported Boko Haram commanders and Davis in Abuja and was privy to a You Tube video, an interview on the Voice of America and he also used Davis’ camera to capture snapshots of Davis in a group photograph with some fake commanders of the sect,” the DSS explained.
On his part, Abubakar Yusuf, who said he was introduced to the Borno State governor by one Barrister Aisha Wakil said he got N4m from the fake Boko Haram negotiations with the Federal Government.
Ogar said Davis and his cohorts are among several other local and international groups who are out to make merchandise of the Boko Haram insurgency through concocted and fabricated stories.
“These subversive campaigns are also aimed at permeating and shaping political discourse as well as challenge the integrity of our national security and stir discontent among Nigerians and our esteemed allies in the war against terror,” Ogar said.
She added that the DSS is committed to bringing to justice all those who sponsor or partake in the publication of subversive reports against Nigeria.
The Borno State government yesterday reacted to the arrest, saying Khadi was first appointed by Modu Sheriff in 2010 and was only retained by Governor Shettima in 2011 on Sheriff’s request.
A statement signed by Isa Gusau, Media Associate to Governor Kashim Shettima said: “I am compelled to respond to enquiries by the media following the display of Alhaji Junaid Idrissa Khadi by a security agency today after he was said to have been arrested by the agency.
“While it is not the tradition of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State to join issues with security agencies as he holds each of them in high esteem, we are concerned about an insinuation concerning the status of Khadi who was presented as an aide to the governor.
“We don’t want to question the integrity of the security agency involved and hence cannot out rightly allege political motive to bring Governor Shettima’s image to disrepute.
“First, let it be noted that our clarification here is not intended to pronounce Khadi guilty of whatever reasons that led to his arrest. The clarification is simply to put the records in their proper perspective.
“Alhaji Junaid Idrissa Khadi was a special adviser to Governor Shettima following his appointment in 2013 on the insistence of ex-governor Modu Sheriff who at that time had the listening ears of his successor.
“Khadi is known to be an associate of Modu Sheriff. It was Sheriff as governor that first appointed Khadi in 2010 as one of his special advisers without known designation given the fact most advisers under Sheriff as governor, had no clear jurisdiction.
“When Shettima succeeded Sheriff as governor in 2011, he appointed his advisers without Khadi.
“Sheriff persistently requested that Shettima appoint Khadi as an adviser in charge of religious affairs, which the governor later accepted in 2013, two years after other advisers were already in office. – National Mirror.