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Boko Haram: DSS defends Sheriff

•Agency indicts Australian negotiator, others
THE Department of State Security (DSS) said yesterday that it had uncovered plots by certain persons to implicate the former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, with the view to portraying him as a Boko Haram sponsor.
The DSS accused Australian hostage negotiator, Dr. Steven Davis, of acting with the said suspects in the bungled ceasefire talks between the Federal Government and the sect.

Its spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar, paraded seven suspects in Abuja,  for allegedly conniving with Davis to “make merchandise” of the Boko Haram insurgency through “concocted and fabricated” stories.
The suspects are: Junaid Idrissa Khadi, Abubakar Yusuf (aka Baba Sani), Saleh Alhaji Ibrahim (Liman Ibrahim), Abdullahi Saleh (aka Babadale), Nurudeen Ibrahim, Mubarak Adamu (aka Molo) and Mustapha Maidugu (aka Musty or Small).
Ogar said: “It is necessary to state here that Davis and his cohorts are among several other local and international groups, who are out to make merchandise of the Boko Haram insurgency through concocted and fabricated stories.
“These subversive campaigns are also aimed at permeating and shaping political discourse as well as challenge the integrity of our national security and stir discontent among Nigerians and our esteemed allies in the war against terror.”
According to the spokesperson, the discovery was as a result of investigation on the activities of the Australian negotiator in the Boko Haram saga, particularly his claims regarding the identities of sponsors of the sect.
Davis had, a few months ago, insisted that Sheriff and the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, were some of the sponsors of the dreaded sect.
Ogar continued: “Recall that on 29th August, 2014, one Steven Davis, an Australian self-styled negotiator for the Boko Haram sect had alleged that Ali Modu Sheriff (senator) and Azubuike Ihejirika (Lt.Gen/rtd), former Governor of Borno State and former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) respectively were among chief sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.
“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 alleged sect members.
“Based on the allegation, this Service initiated an in-depth-investigation into the matter. Consequently, seven associates of Davis were arrested and it has been established that they were part of a well-orchestrated plan to spread falsehood, undermine and discredit efforts of government to end terrorism”.
The DSS alleged that the suspects had confessed to conspiring with Davis to implicate Sheriff, with monetary inducements of various sums.
Ogar also said the suspects claimed that Davis single-handedly “conjured” the indictment on Ihejirika, based on allegations that the military under the former COAS was responsible for his several failed attempts to make contact with the Presidency.
The DSS also accused the Australian of assembling the suspects and presenting them to government negotiators as Boko Haram commanders, adding that the suspects also, at various times, posed with Davis on You Tube as some of the sect’s commanders.
This, Ogar said, was aimed at misleading the Federal Government and compelling it to negotiate with the “fraudulent group”.
Vowing to take appropriate action against the suspects, the DSS said: “We want to reiterate once more, that this Service is committed to bringing to justice all who sponsor or partake in the publication of subversive reports against this country. We shall not rest on our oars until our country is rid of all unwholesome activities”.
But Isa Gusau, the media associate to Governor Kashim Shettima, in a statement yesterday, claimed that one of that paraded suspects, Khadi, was first appointed by Sheriff in 2010 and he was retained by Shettima in 2011 on Sheriff’s request
The statement said the state government was compelled to respond based on enquiries by the media following the parade of Khadi by the DSS.

Gusau said: “While it is not the tradition of Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State to join issues with security agencies as he holds each of them in high esteem, we are concerned about an insinuation concerning the status of Khadi, who was presented as an aide to Shettima. We don’t want to question the integrity of the security agency involved and hence cannot outrightly allege political motive to bring Shettima’s image to disrepute.
“First, let it be noted that our clarification here is not intended to pronounce Khadi guilty of whatever reasons that led to his arrest. The clarification is simply to put the records in their proper perspective.
“Khadi was a Special Adviser to Shettima following his appointment in 2013 on the insistence of ex-Governor Ali Modu Sheriff, who at that time, had the listening ears of his successor, Governor Shettima.
“It is important to note that Governor Kashim Shettima never found Khadi with any questionable character as at the time he was appointed. If at all Khadi had any questionable character, such can only be best known by those he first associated with before Shettima became a Governor in 2011 or perhaps, those that persistently recommended him to Shettima for reappointment.”
The statement called on the security agency to accord the fairest hearing to Khadi, “as it should to every other Nigerian arrested for whatever reason.”

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