The Northern Governors Forum, NGF, has asked security agencies to investigate the claim that a northern governor is sponsoring the Boko Haram insurgent group.
Simon Lalong, the forum’s chairman and Plateau state governor, said the allegation is too heavy to be swept under the carpet.
Obadiah Mailafia, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a presidential candidate in the last election, had said repentant insurgents identified a northern governor as one of their leaders.
Speaking during a programme on Nigeria Info 95.1FM on Monday, he said: “They (the repentant insurgents) told us that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same. They have a sophisticated network.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Makut Macham, Lalong’s spokesman, said the northern governors have been working to end the insurgency, and that the allegation must be investigated.
The statement read: “The Northern Governors Forum has called on security agencies to investigate the allegation by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia in which he alleged that ‘… one of the Northern Governors is the Commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria.’
“The Forum is concerned about the weighty allegation made by Dr. Mailafia which must be thoroughly investigated. The Forum which has been working with the Federal Government, security agencies, community, civil society, traditional and religious leaders as well as development partners to defeat terrorism, banditry and other forms of crimes in the region, finds the allegation by Dr. Mailafia very weighty which deserves further investigation.
“We as Northern Governors have met severally to discuss insecurity in the Northern Region and the nation at large where we did not only condemn the activities of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, bandits, armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals, but also engaged the President and all heads of security agencies in finding solutions to the problem.
“To now say that one of our members is leading Boko Haram in Nigeria is a serious allegation that cannot be swept under the carpet. We demand immediate and thorough investigation.”
The governor asked Mailafia and anyone with useful information on the activities of criminals and the insurgents to assist security agencies with such intelligence “for proper action”.
“The Forum does not, and will not support the activities of any criminal group, because we as Governors and our families are also not spared as was recently witnessed when the convoy of Governor Babagana Zullum of Borno State was attacked,” he said.
The Department of State Services, DSS, earlier invited Mailafia over the claim.