Vanguard (Lagos)

5 September 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram - FG Gets Seven-Day Ultimatum to Prosecute Sheriff

Lagos-based fiery lawyer, Femi Falani, has given the Federal Government seven days to prosecute the former Borno State Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sherriff, for allegedly sponsoring Boko Haram or face his wrath.

The human rights lawyer made it clear that he would personally apply for an order or mandamus for Sherriff and others to be investigated and be prosecuted after the expiration of the week-long ultimatum.

The senior lawyer said he was miffed that Sherriff had used his closeness to the Presidency the security agencies have failed to investigate and prosecute him and other sponsors of terrorism in the country since the directive was given in 2012 by the same Presidency.

He alleged: "Owing to the connection of Alhaji Sheriff with the Presidency the security agencies have failed to implement the directives of the Federal Government which were handed down since May 2012.

Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, insisted that Sherriff could not extricate himself from the activities of the group, having been identified with individuals who played key role in the formation and spread of the virulent group.

Falana, who decried Sherriff's denial of non-involvement with the group, said there was enough evidence from the reports of committees raised by the Federal Government on the sect to prove that the former governor had a hand in the dastardly activities of the group.

The lawyer chided the former governor over his claim, saying that he should explain to Nigerians the basis of the appointment of Alhaji Buji Foi, a Boko Haram leader as the Commissioner of Religious Affairs in Borno State.

Falana said it was curious that Buji Foi, who resigned from the Sheriff government and joined the Boko Haram sect,was extra-judicially killed after his arrest by the soldiers.

He also said that as the Chief Security Officer in Borno State at the material time, the ex-governor should open up on the circumstances of the extra judicial killing of Muhammed Yusuff and his father-in-law, Alhaji Kuba.

The lawyer pointed out that before the latest revelation by Stephen Davis, the Goodluck Jonathan Administration had set up the Ambassador Usman Galtimari Panel to investigate the genesis of the insurgency in the North East, which traced the origin of Boko Haram to politicians, who used them as thugs for political purposes.

Quoting one of the recommendations of reached by the Presidential Panel, Falana wrote: "The Report traced the origin of private militias in Borno State in particular, of which Boko Haram is an offshoot, to politicians who set them up in the run-up to the 2003 general elections. "The militias were allegedly armed and used extensively as political thugs.

After the elections and having achieved their primary purpose, the politicians left the militias to their fate since they could not continue funding and keeping them employed. With no visible means of sustenance, some of the militias gravitated towards religious extremism, the type offered by Mohammed Yusuf.

Recommendation

It recommended that the government should direct the security agencies to beam their light on some politicians who sponsored, funded and used the militia groups that later metamorphosed into Boko Haram and bring them to justice.

Comment

Government accepts this recommendation and directs the National Security Adviser to coordinate investigation of the kingpins and sponsors to unravel the individuals and groups involved."

In 2006, Sheriff told the whole world that he was not bothered by criticisms of his administration for non-performance because less than 5 per cent of Borno people were literate.

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