This Day (Lagos)

30 August 2014

Nigeria: Australian Negotiator's Allegations Against Ihejirika 'Despicable' - Fani-Kayode

Former minister of aviation, Chief Femi Fani-kayode has described as despicable, allegation by Australian negotiator, Stephen Davies that former Army Chief, Azubuike Ihejirika was one of the sponsors of the terrorist Boko Haram sect.

The Perth-based Davis who was involved in negotiations on behalf of the federal government with commanders of the Boko Haram for the release of the 200 schoolgirls abducted by the sect since April had in an interview with Arise Television, a sister company of THISDAY newspapers named Ihejirika along with Senator Ali Modu sheriff as sponsors of Boko Haram.

But Fani-Kayode said: "No one should be spared if the evidence is really there but I must say that I find the allegation that the former Chief of Army Staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika, is somehow involved with Boko Haram a little far-fetched firstly because he spent so much of his time, energy, career and resources fighting that organisation; secondly because that organisation killed so many of his own officers and men and thirdly because he is not a Muslim but a Christian.

"I have never heard of a Christian trying his best to help or assist an organisation to establish an Islamic fundamentalist caliphate which is committed to wiping out the Christian faith and killing every Christian, every secularist and every moderate muslim in his country. It seems to me that this is an absurd notion and that it really doesn't make any sense but if the Australian has any hard evidence let us see or hear it.

"These are very serious allegations and I would be interested in seeing the hard evidence, if any, that he claims to have. I have always said that I believe that anyone, no matter which political party that person is in and no matter how highly placed or powerful that person may be, that is involved with Boko Haram ought to be captured, caged and brought to justice because I regard such people as nothing but bloodthirsty beasts."

The former minister also disagreed with the leading figures in the opposition that have said that the federal government and the PDP were the ones behind Boko Haram.

He said: "These individuals know very well that the APC as a party have far more sympathy for Boko Haram and far many more of their leaders and members have spoken up for and in defence of Boko Haram than anyone else. Just yesterday in Thisday newspaper one of them said that the Senator from Borno State that was facing terrorism charges was a PDP member. This is not true. The Senator that he was referring to is Senator Ndume and he is in the APC and not the PDP.

"Quite apart from that, certain things need to be noted. Let me remind those that are pointing fingers at the PDP now that it was not a member of the PDP or the federal government that said that Boko Haram should not be proscribed as an organisation, even after they had slaughtered no less than 15,000 innocent Nigerians in cold blood, sometime last year. It was rather the official spokesman of the APC, Lai Mohammed, who said so", he insisted.

"It was not the PDP or any member of the federal government that told the world only last year that they were against the declaration of a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, that an attack on Boko Haram was an attack on the north and that Boko Haram members ought not to be killed but rather they ought to be pampered, granted amnesty and treated in a gentle manner like the Niger Delta militants. It was the leading Presidential aspirant and one of the two co-owners of the APC, General Muhammadu Buhari that said so."

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