Maiduguri — The Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Restore Order in Borno State yesterday promised to give a reward of up to N290 million for anybody who can give information that will lead to the arrest of Imam Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Jama'atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram and 18 others.
The JTF placed a bounty of N50 million on the head of Shekau and N25 million each, on the heads of four others who were said to be members of the Shura Council (the overall decision making body of the group).
They include Habibu Yusuf (AKA Asalafi), Khalid Albarnawai, Momodu Bama and Mohammed Zangina.
A reward of N10 million was also placed on the heads of 14 other suspects, who the JTF described as Boko Haram commanders.
They include: Abu Saad, Abba Kaka, Abdulmalik Bama, Umar Fulata, Alhaji Mustapha (Massa) Ibrahim, Abubakar Suleiman-Habu (AKA Khalid), Hassan Jazair, Ali Jalingo, Alhaji Musa Modu, Bashir Aketa, Abba Goroma, Ibrahim Bashir, Abubakar Zakariya and Tukur Ahmed Mohammed.
A statement signed by Lieutenant Colonel Sagir, the spokesman of the special task force in Borno State said Shekau and his allies are wanted in connection with terrorist activities particularly in the North East Zone of the country.
"They are wanted in connection with activities that led to the killings, bombings and assassination of some civilians, religious leaders, traditional rulers, businessmen, politicians, civil servants and security personnel amongst others.
They are also wanted for arson and destruction of properties worth of millions of naira," the statement said.
It added that anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of any of the suspects will have the stipulated reward.
"Anybody with relevant information should contact the following GSM numbers 08064174066, 07085464012, 08154429345," the statement said.
Weekly Trust reports that the JTF's strategy of giving monetary reward to informants adds a new perspective to the imbroglio between the federal government of Nigeria and the Boko Haram insurgents.
Observers say the decision has also foreclose the much taunted dialogue option which many people believe remains the most viable platform that will end the crisis.
The crisis has so far claimed the lives of thousands of people and crippled the economic fortunes of most of the northeastern states.
Shekau took over the mantle of leadership of the sect from Mallam Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the group who was allegedly killed by the police at the height of the crisis in 2009.