Boko Haram: Try Sheriff Now!


Nigerians have for long been existing under the unpleasant and nauseating conditions created by the dreaded Boko Haram militants and nobody has the audacity to talk openly about their escapades or make any veiled reference about their habits and their sponsors lest he would be dealt with summarily.


The press, the security personnel, as well as civic leaders are living in extreme awe of their existence, hoping that one day Nemesis may catch up with them. In fact the fear of Boko is the beginning of wisdom and anybody who mentions anything about them, even if it was glibly, would be branded same as them. He would also be ostracized, victimized or even put to death.

The emergence of such dishonorable and immoral group in some parts of Northern states provided a dispiriting opportunity for some misguided southerners to imply that any Northern Muslim is either a potential Boko Haram member or a covert sympathizer of the group. Sadly enough, some Southern politicians maliciously affirm that Northern socio-political as well as religious leaders are responsible for the funding of the dastardly, insurrectionary group.

Although the crème of Northern elites which included leading politicians, traditional rulers and respectful clerics have openly denounced and also dissociated Islam from the irreligious acts of the group, yet they remained blameworthy in the eyes of the Southerners. Majority of the Southerners erroneously believe that Boko Haram was deliberately floated to destabilize the administration of Jonathan and render him incapable of ruling the country effectively.


That was far from the truth because only the Northerners were the victims of the turmoil perpetrated by the group, while the Southern part of the country remained largely unaffected. And because of that, majority of the southerners were totally complacent and grossly indifferent about what was happening in the Northern parts of the country.


Now, the insurgency is bothering everybody in the country with hundreds of billions of Naira expended on continuous basis to no avail while the insurgency rages on uncontrollably. It was not only Nigerians that were bothered by that unfortunate development, some Western countries, led by France and the United States had shown their concern through their offer to help bring the insurgency to an end and to assist in freeing the Chibok High School girls abducted by the militants.


In addition to that the Federal Government hired a tough, Australian hostage negotiator, Mr. Stephen Davies to facilitate the release of the kidnapped maidens. In the course of his assignment Mr. Davies alleged that he came across vital information that suggested the involvement of a top military brass, Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika, the former Army Chief of Staff, and Senator Ali Modu Sherif, the former Governor of Borno State in the activities of the outlawed Boko Haram group.


Nigerians and the rest of the world were astounded by that revelation which spoke volume about the mystery behind the Boko Haram and their faceless sponsors. Although the two people fingered in the allegation were quick to deny any involvement, their rebuttal was nevertheless seen as a subtle attempt to exonerate themselves from censure because the accusation has already been orchestrated widely by all and sundry.

Many people have marveled at that revelation, pointing out that there had never been a smoke without fire.  They said they can swear that  Senator Sherif is guilty of the blames ostensibly due to the infamous role he played in the emergence of a bogus corps of unlawful bodyguards he called ECOMOG to intimidate and harass his opponents during the run up to the 2003 gubernatorial election.

It was reported that Senator Sherif established a budding relationship with a Yusufiyya sect, another group that buoyed support for him during and after his gubernatorial campaign which also was hand-in-glove with the aggressive and quarrelsome ECOMOG group.

That relationship was said to be short-lived and, soon thereafter, a hostile relationship developed between them, and in September 2009, the Yusufiyya group precipitated a civil disobedience which culminated in the death of hundreds of people in Borno and Bauchi states. The enigmatic leader of the group, Muhammad Yusuf was captured by the military during the disturbances and executed after he was handed to the police alive.


That extra-judicial killing of Yusuf and his associate, Fuji Foi, a former member of Sheriff’s cabinet, was the genesis of the Boko Haram insurgency which at first pressed for justice after its two leaders were bumped off. Because of that revealing revelation, Nigerians were able to add two and two together and underscored four. They firmly believe that Senator Sheriff has a case to answer especially as to who was responsible for the orders given for the execution of Muhammed Yusuf.


Senator Sheriff was persistent and apologetic, suggesting offering himself for trial before any panel in order to prove his innocence. It was true that his kinsmen including two brothers were murdered in cold blood by the group, but that was after the group was factionalized. Therefore, the government should call Sheriff’s bluff in a public inquiry as that is the only way to unearth the truth about Boko Haram and end its insurgency.

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