Calls for President Buhari to name and shame the big wigs financing terrorist group Boko Haram have continued to grow in the past few days. Lending his voice to the call recently is the Archbishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah who declared that the Buhari administration is not sincere in dealing with terrorists killing Nigerians.
Wondering why it is difficult for the government to release names of sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists, the cleric declared that “Nigeria is decomposing from within.”
Recall that last month, the Presidency revealed it has identified, frozen accounts of the major sponsors of the deadly sect, much to the dismay of an average Nigerian who wants their names made public.
Though in the past an ex-governor has been linked to being a sponsor of Boko Haram, little has been done to bring others to book.
In 2014, Premium Times published an exclusive story where they fueled suggestions that a former governor of Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff is a major financier of the terrorist sect.
WATCH: Video shows President Jonathan linking ex-Borno Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, to Boko Haram
They revealed how Intelligence insights obtained in Maiduguri, Damaturu, and Abuja showed dated communications between field officers and the velvet ranks of Nigeria’s military chronicling Mr. Sheriff’s involvement in promoting the growth of the sect.
The communications painted a picture of what appears to be a powerful regional support structure involving the Chadian president, Nigerian officials, and Niger Republic, and spearheaded by Mr. Sheriff whom the intelligence presents as a powerful figure within this circle.
Strong evidence indicates that the Nigerian government received actionable intelligence about Mr. Sheriff’s links to Boko Haram as far back as 2011 but has, curiously, ignored all warnings and nudges to act to stop the Boko Haram call him in for interrogation.
When Sheriff visits Abeche
Nourished by deep and impeccable sources from members of the Chadian Army, Nigerian intelligence experts had arrived at fairly certain conclusions that Mr. Sheriff was actively involved in the recruitment, training, and deployment of Boko Haram members.
“…members of Boko Haram sect are sometimes kept in Abeche region in Chad and trained before being dispersed. This happens usually when Mr. Sheriff visits Abeche,” a 2011 intelligence memo from field officers in N’djamena, the capital of Chad, read.
When Mr. Sheriff visits Abeche for these activities, he lodges in Chadian Presidential Guest House in Abeche, and is provided security by the Chadian government, the intelligence communications claim.
Sheriff was a close friend of former Chadian president, Idris Deby.
In 2011, during the Chadian presidential elections. Sheriff reportedly supported the Chadian president with 35 vehicles, for security, and is believed to have significantly bankrolled Deby’s re-election.
Nigerian defence and intelligence community members typically describe Mr. Sheriff as a gun runner in their many communications, and they often speak in the conviction that his weapons find their way into Nigeria through Niger Republic into Yobe state. Yobe is Boko Haram’s stronghold and has suffered heavy casualties in magnitudes only second to Borno.
Money, Politics, and Power
Back in August 2011, intelligence officials were characterizing Sheriff’s motivations for sponsoring Boko Haram as similar to a certain “3rd generation South-South governor,” with the aim of covering up financial irregularities he might have committed as governor of Borno state, as well as propagate a stay-put in-office strategy by suppressing the opposition.
The officials suggest that Mr. Sheriff did not create the sect but was actively using the “monster” and could be sponsoring the sect as a way of protecting himself from the sect members who were “calling for his head” at the time.
“One way of reclaiming the lost loyalty of the sect, therefore, was sponsorship of their cause,” intelligence officials were telling their principals.
An April 2, 2012 report by a Cameroonian daily, L’Oriel du Sahel, said the former governor, now a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was arrested in 2012 upon entering Cameroon from Chad on his way to meeting the governor of that country’s northern region.
The report said Cameroonian police authorities questioned Mr. Sheriff for hours and only released him later following pressure from senior government officials in that country.
An Ambassador Usman Galtimari Panel, set up by then-President Goodluck Jonathan to investigate the genesis of the insurgency in the North East, had also blamed Sheriff for the growth of Boko Haram in a report.
Chadian President Connection
An Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis, named Sheriff, alongside former Nigerian Army Chief, Azubuike Ihejirika, as sponsors of the Boko Haram sect, quoting the sect’s leadership.
Nigeria’s intelligence authorities have been equivocal on the role of Mr. Ihejirika in promoting the deadly sect whose bloody campaign has killed up to 5000 Nigerians and left many homeless, broken, and internally displaced, but they have lately spoken of the Chadian president, Mr. Deby, as a new dimension to the Boko Haram sponsorship dynamics.
In 2011, a strong Boko Haram army was also beneficial to the Chadian president, as it provided a “ready army and possible refuge” for a president that was facing growing distrust from his legitimate army, Nigerian intelligence officials claimed.
The Chadian president’s support for the sect was made majorly through his friendship with Mr. Sheriff and at the expense of his country’s relationship with Nigeria, the report said.
Northern governors finance Boko Haram
Last year, a Former Central of Nigeria, CBN, Deputy Governor, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia claimed that a governor from the north is a commander of Boko Haram and that insurgents would soon start urban killings and attacking southern parts of the country.
Mailafia said: ‘’During the lock-down, the insurgents were moving and distributing arms and ammunition across the country. We have met with some of their repentant high commanders, they have sat down with us not once, not twice.
“They told us that a prominent elected politician in the North is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same. During this lock-down, their planes were moving up and down as if there was no lock-down.”