by Onome Oraka
The Federal Government has consistently assured Nigerians that the Chibok girls who were abducted by the Islamic insurgents, Boko Haram on April 15th, will be released. At one point hopes were high following reports of negotiations between representatives of the sect and the federal government. Some names of the Chibok girls to be swapped with some Boko Haram kingpins was broadcasted nationally. However, these hopes were dashed when Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau denied being a party to any negotiation.
Yesterday in Abuja, the Department of State Services paraded alleged fake Boko Haram members who were involved in the negotiations with the Federal Government supposedly to bring an end to the reign of terror the insurgents had unleashed on Nigerians since 2009.
Among the suspects was a special adviser to the Governor of Borno state, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, Mr. Junaid Idrissa Khadi, Abubakar Yussuf, Saleh Alhaji Ibrahim, Abdullahi Saleh, Nurudeen Ibrahim, Mubarak Adamu and Mustapha Maidugu.
DSS spokesman, Marilyn Ogar, was the one who paraded the suspects and briefed journalists. There was a time when hardly a week passed without Nigerians hearing from Ogar in her usual take-no-prisoners style. She seemed to have gone off the radar in recent times. But on Tuesday she was present in all her glory.
Ogar revealed that the fake Boko Haram members collaborated with Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis. In August, Stephen Davis had accused former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, and former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Azubuike Iherijika as chief sponsors of the Islamic insurgents.
Ogar said “Davis premised his findings on discussions with several field commanders of the sect who allegedly expressed willingness of the sect to negotiate with the Federal Government if Davis would spearhead such dialogue. To buttress this, he posted a photograph of himself taken in 2013 with some of the alleged sect members.”
Ogar added that the DSS initiated an in-depth investigation into the matter, and that led to the arrest of seven associates of Davis. She said that they (fake Boko Haram members) were part of a well-orchestrated plan to spread falsehood, undermine and discredit efforts of the government to end terrorism.
Ogar said Davis and his cohorts are among several other local and international groups who are out to make merchandise of our national security and stir discontent among Nigerians and our esteemed allies in the war against terror. She said their campaigns were subversive and aimed at permeating and shaping political discourse as well as challenging the integrity of the nation’s security system.
She concluded that the DSS was committed to meting out justice to individuals involved in the publication of subversive reports against Nigeria.