Australian Negotiator, Dr Stephen Davis has insisted that former governor of Borno State, Modu Sheriff and former Chief of Army Staff, General Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika are Boko Haram sponsors.
Dr Stephen Davis in an extensive telephone interview with SaharaReporters yesterday, August 30, also accused an unnamed senior official of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as a man based in Cairo, Egypt whom he claimed operates as Boko Haram’s bagman as major players in the funding and continued existence of the deadly Islamist sect.
Dr Davis who said he did not want to mention the name of the CBN official as this may affect investigation by Nigeria’s security service stated that his allegations were informed by discussions he had with several Boko Haram field commanders over a long period of time.
Dr Stephen Davis' revelation is coming after ex-Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Nasir El-Rufai also revealed on August 28, that Modu Sheriff, Gen. Ihejirika are Boko Haram sponsors.
Speaking on El-Rufai and former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, being involved in funding or sponsoring Boko Haram, Dr. Davis said their names have not been mentioned to him by any Boko Haram connections.
Dr Davis who explained why Mr Ihejirika, a Christain became a Boko Haram “sponsor,” Mr. Davis said: “Boko Haram commanders and some connected with them told me on several occasions Ihejirika was one of their sponsors.”
He also disclosed that Mr. Sheriff always had the best military protection in Nigeria’s violence-plagued northeast, a protection he claimed the ex-governor enjoyed after he left office.
Meanwhile the Modu Sheriff has reacted to Dr Davis' accusation as he reportedly threatened to travel to Australia to sue his accuser.
Speaking further, Dr Davis said he was unsure of the extent of information before President Goodluck Jonathan on whether he was aware of the insurgents’ sponsors and their specific roles.
He added that Mr. Jonathan had been weakened by lack of military loyalty and a history of security negligence. He gave the example of repeated attempts to bring the growth of Al Qa’eda associated cells to the attention of NSA’s since 2006 only to have them dismiss such reports as baseless.
“By the time Goodluck Jonathan became president Boko Haram had become a potent weapon with a command structure embedded in 16 northern states fanned by support from corrupt politicians.”
He further gave the example of Nigeria’s Minister of Defense, Aliyu Gusau, whom he accused of basically leaving Mr. Jonathan to carry his can without taking any responsibility for his work.
The Australian negotiator also revealed that his years working with Nigerian presidents on matters of terrorism had shown that, even when some prominent individuals are known to be involved in criminality, the presidents are simply too afraid to take them on.
Dr. Davis touched on several aspects of Boko Haram activities, showing that he was quite knowledgeable about the sect’s actions. He told SaharaReporters that Boko Haram runs about six major camps in the northeast and neighboring countries, adding that 700 fighters inhabited each camp. In addition there are a range of smaller camps within Borno State, which are often temporary and to which kidnapped girls are taken to be used by the insurgents.
The Australian revealed that earlier this year Boko Haram was a loose coalition of three Islamist militant groups that worked with one another, claiming that, since four months ago, the sects had merged into one single entity, become more cohesive, strategically effective and powerful.
“They are now linking with other terrorist group in the region and will soon be very difficult to dismantle.If these political sponsors think they can turn these groups off after the 2015 elections they are going to be surprised to find it is out of their control.”
On why he had chosen to speak out publicly at this time, Dr. Davis stated that, from experience, any terrorist group that has lasted more than eight years after its formation would likely exist for another 20 or more years before it can be dismantled. It thus becomes embedded for a generation and the likelihood of dismantling it was very low.
“If we don’t do our utmost now to dismantle Boko Haram then we may not be able to do so for another generation. That is a very gloomy scenario for Nigeria.”
Dr Stephen Davis vowed to make more revelations about Boko Haram’s sponsors, adding that he believed the sect could only be dismantled if their sponsors were exposed and prosecuted.
He also added that the former governor, Modu Sheriff should face the ultimate trial for financing the recruitment of young men to the Islamist sect.
Meanwhile reacting to the threat made by Mr Sheriff to travel to Australia to sue him for his statements decribe it as grandstanding and seeking to divert attention from the real issue of Mr. Sheriff’s involvement with Boko Haram. He added that he would be pleased to meet the former governor at the airport whenever he developed the courage to come to Australia.
On August 28, it was reported that Dr Stephen had revealed Boko Haram sponsors and their plans saying saying: “These politicians think that if they win power they can turn these terrorists off, but this has mutated. It’s no longer a case of Muslims purifying by killing off Christians. They are just killing indiscriminately, beheading, disembowelling people – men, women and children and whole villages.”
Following his previous revelations of Boko Haram sponsors, Dr Stephen Davis recently accused Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of enabling Boko Haram Funds.
Meanwhile, on August 28, 2014, General Ihejirika, responded to El-Rufai's accusation saying: “The likes of El-Rufai have been supporting Boko Haram. In fact, El-Rufai and his likes are the same group of people that ensured the army did not to get the requested equipment to deal with this menace once and for all, as they used their cohorts to tell the government that procuring modern equipment were not necessary”.
Stephen Davis, is a 63-year-old Australian hostage negotiator who spent some time in Nigeria trying to secure the release of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram militants in Chibok, Borno.
The Australian expert had acted as a negotiator not only in the Chibok issue, but also as an adviser for Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Yar’Adua.
Davis spent 4 intense months in the North-East and his life was subject to extreme danger while he tried to rescue more than 200 school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14. He returned with rare footage of the intense fighting in the region.