From the blues came Dr. Stephen Davis, an Australian hostage negotiator with some claim to add up to the high-piling conspiracy theories on Boko Haram, in what is rocking the country to its foundation even more than the murders perpetrated by the extremists. Like all works of fiction, Davis looked for prominent names as characters to get attention to his works. He accused former Army Chief of Staff Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), of sponsoring Boko Haram, the very terrorists the Army general decimated in his well-coordinated campaign against terror and other forms of militancy.
The Australian, who claimed to have been working with the Nigerian federal government to negotiate a release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, told his tale when he was already thousands of kilometers away from Nigeria where he claimed to have met with commanders of the sect to gather the information about its sponsorship. Curious.
Not too long after, the nation woke up with news of a ceasefire deal between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, said to have being brokered by Chadian President Idriss Deby. Danladi Ahmadu, a man claiming to be the sect’s general secretary, had told the Voice of America on October 17 that the government was negotiating with representatives of the group.Acting on this, Alex Badeh, the country’s Chief of Defence Staff, then went into work: he quickly addressed the media, asking Nigerians troops to ceasefire because of the deal which he said included releasing the 219 Chibok schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity.This ceasefire deal all turned out to be a phantom, appearing like the one hatched and delivered by Dr. Davis.
Much of the territories captured by the sect happened during the period of this phantom ceasefire. More women were also abducted by the sect during the period of the IdrissDeby-brokered ceasefire, with no trace or known efforts by the Nigerian authorities to locate and secure their release. A new Boko Haram video which was obtained by AFP news agency, showed the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, and his fighters in an armoured vehicle apparently ceased from the Nigerian military, openly moving around in an unidentified town they apparently control and preaching to locals. In the video, Shekau denied any ceasefire deal with anyone, saying Boko Haram does not negotiate.
So, the question on lips is obvious: who did Davis and Deby meet for their information to deceive Nigeria? We have read volumes about how Deby, the Chadian President is now unreachable by Nigerian authorities trying to establish contact to find out if he actually met with the actual sect members, or he met with frauds.
And we will be asking Davis the same question; if he met with frauds during his negotiations to secure the Chibok schoolgirls? We are of the opinion that Davis, like Deby, met with some frauds masquerading as sect members, in which case we will be suggesting that he quickly retracts his scandalously fictitious tale about how Lt. General Ihejirika sponsored Boko Haram. Like Deby’s phantom ceasefire deal which has only succeeded in inflicting a psychological pain on Nigerians, and especially families of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls and many more, Davis’ claim about the involvement of Lt. General Ihejirika with the sect has only reinforced our worse fears that the Nigerian government is engaging the wrong characters masquerading as “NEGOTIATORS” to reach members of the sect.
We are of the opinion that like Deby, Davis was overzealous in his assignment. The credit alert to his bank accounts by the Nigerian government he claimed to have worked for, must have entered his head, and set him running after anybody, including frauds who told him they are commanders of the sect. Now, Shekau, the sect boss himself came out to declare: “We don’t negotiate with anyone,” including Davis.
We have been slow to making conclusions on Davis, since then. But with this revelation from Shekau that “we don’t negotiate with anyone,” we are compelled to question his source of information which mould his claim about General Ihejirika.
We make bold to say Shekau’s new video puts serious doubts about the credibility of Dr. Davis. We will be slow in making conclusions, hoping that Davis will come out himself to prove he is not a fake like the frauds he had contacts with. Davis has a duty to prove his credibility in the face of the sect’s new video.
Davis should have made studies himself, to investigate and verify the information he had after listening to the said “commanders” of the sect he met. Such investigations would have brought him closer to the truth. Such investigations would have opened his eyes to the obvious; which is that General Ihejirika, an Igbo, would not have elected to sponsor a group of Islamists in the murderous campaign which targets include the former Army Chief’s kinsmen. One writer, Ocherome Nnanna best captured this when he wrote: “Ihejirika is an Igbo man and a Christian. As such, he is an enemy of everything that Boko Haram stands for. If there is anyone who will like to finish Boko Haram today, it is someone in the cosmological mold of General Ihejirika.
Adamu S.K. Alheri, is National Coordinator, Nasarawa Vanguard On Peace For Development (NAVAPED).