Senior Nigerian Politician Named As Boko Haram Sponsor
According to a report filed by The London Evening Post's Editor-In-Chief, Henry D. Gombya, a former BBC Africa-corespondent and Trevor Grundy; a senior Nigerian politician was named as one of the main sponsors of the country's terrorist group, Boko Haram.
During an interview with the BBC's Today programme Tuesday, Dr Stephen Davies, Director of the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, told the Today programme: “I have named several of these sponsors in the first instance and thus far, nothing has happened to those sponsors. Nothing. Untouched.”
Asked by BBC's Today presenter Sarah Montague what evidence he had concerning the Boko Haram sponsors, Dr Davies replied he knew that one of them was former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff (May 2003-May 2011).
He said Boko Haram commanders he had spoken with had told him that were Governor Sheriff to be arrested, they would surrender forthwith. “I know who these guys are. Just a phone call away,” he said. In reply to a question as to why such people like Governor Sheriff would sponsor a terrorist organisation, Dr Davies replied that it has all to do with next year's Nigerian general elections where some powerful people are planning to get into power.
Pressed to say who the sponsors were, Dr Davies said they were 'predominantly Nigerian politicians'. “There are sponsors outside Nigeria but also the likes of former governor of Borno State, Sheriff, whom we know has been financing Boko Haram for some time.” He added that it was “fruitless” to try and get the girls released because the moment they were released or exchanged, another group of terrorists would carry out more kidnappings. He said orders to kill anyone who set the girls free would be issued by the group's sponsors.
It is understood that Dr Davis was appointed by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to try and secure the release of the kidnapped girls by negotiation. In a previous interview, he said that the terrorist situation in West Africa was growing worse day by day. “Terror groups are linking up in Somalia, Southern Sudan, Egypt and one has fairly strong evidence they are talking with ISIS members. They will link up with ISIS and al-Shabaab and I think that what we are seeing in that region is the new homeland of radical Islam in the world,” he said.
Asked why President Jonathan did not take action against people in Nigeria – given they really are sponsoring terrorist activities, Dr Davis said: “He would be accused of trying to rig the elections due early next year (2015). So I think this will run through to the election unabated. These politicians think that if they win power they can turn the terrorists off but this has mutated.” He added that Boko Haram (which translated into English roughly means Western Education is Forbidden) are just killing indiscriminately, beheading their victims, disembowelling people – “men, women and children and even whole villages.”
Dr Davies, an Australian, was programme officer at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University in Virginia. He joined IHS from Manchester Metropolitan University where he was Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and Economic History. He has also been a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Centre at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. A historian, he graduated from St Andrews University in Scotland in 1976 and gained his PhD from the same institution in 1984. He has authored several books, including Empiricism and History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) and was co-editor with Nigel Ashford of The Dictionary of Conservative and Libertarian Thought (Routledge, 1991).
Meanwhile, Britain and the Commonwealth have been asked to help provide Nigeria with military assistance to tackle the brutal forces of Boko Haram, say a coalition of former government ministers and senior military personnel. In a letter signed by British former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a call was made for a co-ordinated Commonwealth-led military assistance programme for the Nigerian forces in their campaign against Boko Haram. The letter also called for increased international intelligence support and training for the Nigerian government and military. It was published Tuesday in the London-based The Independent newspaper, six months after 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamist extremists in northern Nigeria. Despite an international campaign to find the girls, no diplomatic or military progress has been made to secure their release.
“Today,” said the letter which was signed by the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Lord (Paddy) Ashdown and the former Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, “more than 200 teenage girls will spend their sixth month in captivity, somewhere near the border between Nigeria and Cameroon, scared, hurt and alone . . . The days have turned into weeks and the weeks into months. The world was too slow to act when on the night of 14 April 2014 evil descended on a secondary school in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Boko Haram terrorists, disguised as soldiers, kidnapped 276 female students from their beds at gunpoint. We stand here together united with our Commonwealth partners, the Nigerian Government and the international community to do all we can to bring them back to their families.”
Signatories included other senior army officers and British Members of Parliament who called on the UN and international community to support:
An international inquiry into the role, impact and financial networks supporting Boko Haram;
Co-ordinated Commonwealth –led military assistance for the Nigerian security forces in their campaign against Boko Haram;
Increased international intelligence support and training for the Nigerian Government and military;
Better co-ordination and focus at an EU (European Union) level of foreign defence and aid policy towards West Africa to help combat terrorism and extremism and support the Safe Schools Initiative in Nigeria;
Following the successful Paris and London summits with Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, closer liaison between France and the UK with regards to a more co-ordinated strategy to assist in the fight against terrorism in West Africa.
The letter had been organized as part of a lobbying campaign by Nigerian business groups who feel international investment is being threatened by the instability in the country, said a report in The Independent. Sir Malcolm chairs British parliamentary intelligence and security committee and is a former chairman of the ArmourGroup, one of the world's largest security companies, which has offices in 27 countries including Nigeria.