Igbo in Lagos State have risen in defence of Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, former chief of army staff, who was recently named by Steven Davis, an Australian self-styled negotiator, as one of the sponsors of Boko Haram insurgents
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Sep. 22, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT |
NDIGBO in Lagos want the federal government to investigate the allegation by Steven Davis, an Australian negotiator, linking Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, former Chief of Army Staff, with the sponsorship of Boko Haram, an Islamic fundamentalist sect. Ndigbo’s position was contained in a statement signed by Chuma Igwe, its director of communications and strategy. Igwe said the allegation aired in an interview with Davis, on Arise Television, was a cheap blackmail targeted at defaming the former army boss.
According to lgwe, the allegation was procured, choreographed and orchestrated, by Davis who he tagged as one of the many white mercenaries prowling the African continent. While condemning the story in its totality, Ndigbo Lagos maintained: “In the said interview, Davies did not adduce or suggest any single evidence to support his accusation. Curiously when, in the same breadth, he said he has knowledge of the sponsors of the Abuja Nyanya bombing, he refused to mention names,” it said.
The body also noted with abhorrence that it was “tragic” that the interviewer refused to demand evidence from Davis to substantiate his allegation when knew that the content of the interview was capable of defaming Ihejirika. Given the lack of evidence, the nature of delivery of the allegation and the character of the accused general, Ndigbo believes Ihejirika’s traducers are playing dirty politics. “General Ihejirika will be remembered for being one of the most outstanding commanders Nigeria has had. He is not only an accomplished tactician but also a strategic leader of a fighting force. In his time, he did not only decimate the fighting capability of Boko Haram but also built enduring military institutions to permanently checkmate insurgency in Nigeria,” Ndigbo Lagos said.
It wondered that when Ihejirika retired from the military, some individuals in the North wanted him tried by the world court for being overzealous in crushing Boko Haram, but that eight months later, the same man is now being accused of sponsoring the group he was alleged to have crushed.
The group also tagged as “insidious,” the allegation by Nasir el-Rufai, who was also named as “a character fast drifting gracelessly into the ethnic bigoted pit of hell,” noting that his accusations against Ihejirika “reveals the tragic indulgence in denial, escapism by the same self-centred northern politicians who would rather create hell in order to continue to rule rather than serve in heaven.”
Meanwhile, the Department of State Security, DSS, has defended Lt. General Ihejirika, saying that linking the former army chief with Boko Haram sponsorship was inhuman. Marilyn Ogar, SSS spokesperson, said the inclusion of Ihejirika’s name on the list of Boko Haram sponsors is wicked. “I want to say here that it is absolutely uncharitable for us as Nigerians to reward in that way somebody who had laid down his life in pursuing Boko Haram insurgents For us to accept that he is associated with the same sect whose activities he, together with this service, succeeded in bringing to a halt in Kano, Okene and other places, pursuing them down to the Sambisa forest, is wicked. And to accept that the same man was sponsoring Boko Haram is wicked and uncharitable. We should not allow people to use our liberal nature to perpetrate all sorts of evils in our society,” she said.
Ogar, however, said the service had invited Ali Modu Sheriff, former Borno State governor, for questioning. “He had been invited here twice in the past. The service has invited him again. There is nothing that this service has done in investigation in the past that we have not informed the public.” She also responded to Davis’ claims that a Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, official who handles the funding to Boko Haram was an uncle to three of those arrested in connection with the Nyanya bombings and that the three boys had lived with him.
She disputed the claims saying that none of them is related. “For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that of the six suspects in our custody, none is related by blood. In other words, none is a cousin or nephew to any other, and only two suspects namely Yau Saidu and Anas Isah have ever lived together at the makeshift clinic called ‘Kishi Clinic” operated by Rufai Abubakr Tsiga, a co-mastermind of the bomb blast, who is still at large. It may also be recalled that on 12th May, 2014, this service paraded the following suspects in connection with the bombing of Nyanya Motor Park: Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Muhammadu Sanil Shaq; Yau Saidu; AnasI Sah and Adamu Yusuf.
“Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche and Rufai Abubakar Tsiga were subsequently declared wanted. Ogwuche was later arrested in Sudan and extradited to Nigeria on 14th July, 2014. Further interrogation of suspects in our custody has also revealed that none lived with or has any relationship with any staff of the CBN. This statement is imperative to clarify some information in the media to the contrary. We wish to categorically state that this service is not the source of the information credited to Davis,” Ogar said.