The Borno Elders Forum Thursday said all the persons being fingered in the controversial theft of funds meant to purchase arms for soldiers combating insurgency in northeast Nigeria are the real sponsors of Boko Haram.
The group said President Muhammadu Buhari should not waste his time searching for those funding Boko Haram as the arms deal controversy had uncovered those to be punished for all the destruction in the north east.
The Borno elders made this comment in a statement signed by their chairman, Ambassador Gaji Galtimari.
They said: “Much has been said about the sponsors of Boko Haram. With the horrifying revelations about the ‘Arms Deal’, it is no longer necessary to continue delaying the search for the real sponsors of Boko Haram. Those who collected such huge sums of money from the national treasury and converted same for their unending greed and avarice should be regarded as part and parcel of the sponsors of Boko Haram. Get them and you will get the rest.
“The people who sponsored the activities of Boko Haram or those who deliberately turned away from their official responsibilities on security issues, or those who looted the funds meant for the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram, and those who spoke or continue to speak in their favour are all one and the same.
“They all individually and collectively aided and sponsored the Boko Haram insurgency. They colluded to ensure the death of our brave soldiers, our innocent people and the near total destruction of our society. Nigerians should stand by us and collectively assist to bring those responsible to book. “
The elders, who had been a strong critical voice at the way and manner the former government went about prosecuting the Boko Haram insurgency, said the revelations coming from the arms deal scandal had vindicated them.
“Since the outbreak of the Boko Haram uprising in 2009 to date, the Borno Elders Forum had been voicing out at every critical stage of the crisis, proffering possible ways of addressing very critical security and social issues.
“However, until the advent of the current government under President Muhammadu Buhari, we were ignored. We are somehow relieved that not only the present government but the generality of our Nigerian compatriots are now showing great understanding and compassion on our sorry state of existence.”
While the group expressed grateful to President Buhari and the patriotic armed forces of Nigeria “for the turn of events in our land,” it stated its concern and betrayed by some Nigerians who seem to justify the killings and suffering heaped on inhabitants of the affected region.
“The massive killing of our people, the wholesome destruction of our settlements, the massive humanitarian crisis faced by over two million internally displaced persons, the creation of hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans and so on, seem to be of no consequence to some Nigerians,” he lamented.
“It does not speak well of any Nigerian, for whatever reason, to fight or criticize the President of Nigeria or call our anti–corruption agencies names when they simply want to make offenders pay for the crimes most of them have confessed to have committed.
“We feel hurt and betrayed that some Nigerians are politicizing this despicable issue of ‘Arms Deal.’ People are rushing to our courts of law to manipulate the law, taking cover under the canopy of the constitution and misinterpreted human rights dicta to confuse the nation. Even the constitution itself has balanced interests of people against the interest of individuals. In this case, the interest of the victims should prevail when it comes to justice.
“Let those Nigerians know that thousands of Nigerians perished due to the misuse of funds meant for security, not only the ‘Arms Deal’ case but several other instances before it. Playing politics with those issues is to condone the loss of lives and the destruction of our livelihood,” the elders’ group said.