- Hajiya Aisha Wakilm said military operation will not solve Boko Haram insurgency
- She said the group was ready to dialogue as long as the government was sincere
- She narrated how she was able to prevent Boko Haram attack on Christmas Eve
Hajiya Aisha Wakil who is known as Mama Boko Haram has called on the federal government to try and negotiate with Boko Haram as the group seems ready to engage in dialogue.
In an interview with The Punch, Mama Boko Haram said the group always asks her when the war will end as they are interested in it coming to an end. She however said the government has to be since for this to be possible.
She said:"My understanding of the group is that they are young people who claimed that they were provoked. They said nobody listened to them and that they had to transfer their anger and vent it on innocent people. That is the only thing I can say about them. They were angry.
"When I heard the rumour about their intention to revolt, I called Mohammed Yusuf. He told me that they were betrayed. Up till now, I do not know what the betrayal was all about. He said they were angry because somebody made them angry and they wanted an apology. They said the trouble started when security operatives shot their members because they did not wear crash helmets. As if that was not enough, they said some security personnel shot at them during the funeral procession of one of their members killed by police bullets."
"I believe in God and I pray a lot. I believe in prayers. If we pray, these kids are not more powerful than God. I do encourage people to also pray about it. There is one adage in Igbo that says if you drag a stick and the stick drags you, you leave the stick and run for your life. They (Federal Government) keep telling me that they have dragged the stick (Boko Haram insurgents) and that the stick has dragged them and it is now for them to leave the stick. But I keep telling them that this is not a stick but human beings and we have to continue to drag them.
"These are Nigerians, our children, our brothers and sons. We cannot just leave them like that, because leaving them like that would create more problems. I believe it (the insurgency) will end; they (the insurgents) wanted it to end. Anytime I talk to them, they always ask me when the war would end and would also seek to know how it would end."
On the military angle the government was using, Mama Boko Haram said it would not solve the problem. She said the group planned to bomb a church in December 24, 2017 but she was able to stop the attack.
She said: "The shootings and killings have never solved any problem. Very soon, it will be 10 years since the war started. Scores of soldiers have died in the process. I had to involve myself in the peace process when I saw people coming from all over the country and even white men to fight war. Some say only a fierce battle could end the war but I am of the opinion that we should not continue because of our kids.
"They planned to bomb St. Augustine’s Church on December 24 last year. One of them called me on that day to find out whether I had travelled. There was a pickup van loaded with explosives in front of the church. I told the caller that I had not travelled and I immediately rushed out and saw the boy that was to carry out the suicide mission. They had already prepared him for the exercise. He had already been given the injection and prepared him for burial. The boy was just moving and murmuring. I quickly called the (Boko Haram) boys and told them that I can see a vehicle parked and that a boy was moving towards it. They told me that the boy was the suicide bomber. They asked why I did not travel again and I told them that my brother, a reverend father, visited Maiduguri and that we would be travelling together after Christmas.
"I instantly told him that I was right inside the church (targeted for bombing) with my brother because I brought food for him. I told them that I was not ready to leave the church, daring them to do their worse. They were then confused and asked what I wanted to become of the boy they had prepared for the suicide mission, and I asked them to send the boy away to the nearby bush; after all, he had taken the oath to die, so he should go and die alone. They asked me to leave the church premises but I told them that I wouldn’t go until they had diverted the boy away. After some time, they told me the boy had left and one of them said, ‘I can see your car driving out’ but I didn’t go with my car.
"This is to show how God works. God planned this. I do not know where a black car came out from that made them to believe I was around the place. So they drove the pickup van away. When I did a follow-up, I learnt that the boy had died because he had taken an oath and they had given him an injection preparing him for death. If you take the injection, you can never be yourself again. I then warned them that on no account should they target places of worship for bombing again."
Meanwhile, the Borno state government reviewed the curfew in Maiduguri metropolis from 8:00pm to 6:00am as against the existing 10pm to 6am.
Dr Mohammed Bulama, the state commissioner, home affairs, information and culture, disclosed this in a statement on Monday, January 1 in Maiduguri.
Bulama said that the curfew was temporary and would be between Tuesday, January 2 to Saturday, January 6, to enhance security in the metropolis.
Nigerian Air Force operations against Boko Haram on Legit.ng TV