Nigeria: Mailafia's Boko Haram Allegation Heavy, Must Be Probed - Northern Governors

13 August 2020

FOLLOWING the allegation that a serving northern governor is a commander of Boko Haram, the Northern Governors' Forum has called for a thorough investigation as such allegation is too weighty to be ignored.

Expressing concern over the allegation, the umbrella body of the 19 northern governors noted that as a body, they have been working hard to see the end of banditry and terrorism and for one of them to be alleged to be a leading member of Boko Haram calls for thorough probe.

Former Central of Nigeria, CBN, Deputy Governor, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, made the claim in an interview on an Abuja-based radio station, on Monday, claimed that a governor from the north is a commander of Boko Haram and that insurgents would soon start urban killings and attacking southern parts of the country.

Mailafia said: "During the lock-down, the insurgents were moving and distributing arms and ammunition across the country. We have met with some of their repentant high commanders, they have sat down with us not once, not twice.

"They told us that a prominent elected politician in the North is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same. During this lock-down their planes were moving up and down as if there was no lock-down."

Reacting on a day that the Director of State Service, DSS in Jos invited Dr. Mailafia for questioning over the allegations, Chairman of the Norther Governors' Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said the allegation is weighty and must be investigated.

In a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, the Plateau governor urged Dr. Mailafia who made the allegation and indeed all citizens with useful information on the activities of criminals and terrorist groups to assist security agencies and governments at all levels with such intelligence for proper action.

He said: "The Northern Governors Forum has called on security agencies to investigate the allegation by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia in which he alleged that "... one of the Northern Governors is the Commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. The Forum is concerned about the weighty allegation made by Dr. Mailafia which must be thoroughly investigated.

"The Forum which has been working with the Federal Government, security agencies, community, civil society, traditional and religious leaders as well as development partners to defeat terrorism, banditry and other forms of crimes in the region, finds the allegation by Dr. Mailafia very weighty which deserves further investigation.

"We as Northern Governors have met severally to discuss insecurity in the Northern Region and the nation at large where we did not only condemn the activities of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, bandits, armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals, but also engaged the President and all heads of security agencies in finding solutions to the problem.

"To now say that one of our members is leading Boko Haram in Nigeria is a serious allegation that cannot be swept under the carpet. We demand immediate and thorough investigation. I urge Dr. Mailafia and indeed all citizens with useful information on the activities of criminals and terrorist groups to assist security agencies and Governments at all levels with such intelligence for proper action."

The Governor also hoped that such allegations are not smear campaigns or attempts to discourage Northern governors who are putting in their best to bring an end to insecurity in the region.

"The Forum does not, and will not support the activities of any criminal group, because we as Governors and our families are also not spared as was recently witnessed when the convoy of Governor Babagana Zullum of Borno State was attacked."

Wife thanks Nigerians for husband's freedom

Meanwhile, Margaret, wife of Obadiah Mailafia, has raised the alarm over his safety in the custody of the DSS, following his invitation for questioning over comments he made in a radio programme concerning insecurity in the country.

Speaking to journalists near the DSS office in Jos, Plateau State, Margaret called on the international community and elder statesmen to intervene for the immediate release of her husband.

Her words: "We are calling on the international community, General Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, T. Y. Danjuma, J. T. Useni, Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro, IBB and other stakeholders to intervene in the release of my husband."

He spoke on 'Morning Crossfire' programme on Nigeria Info Abuja 95.1FM on Monday, and DSS invited him, on Wednesday, for questioning over the comments.

While his supporters and well-wishers throng the DSS office, demanding his release, his wife has said his safety is not guaranteed, adding that DSS should neither give her husband food nor drink.

She called for his immediate release. Below is the video of Mrs Margaret Mailafia.

What Mailafia said

In the video clip from the radio programme, the former CBN deputy governor said he had a chat with two repentant terrorists and that they identified a northern governor that is their commander.

Mailafia said the terrorists and bandits were one and the same, adding that the terrorists moved weapons even during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19.

He said: "Some of us also have our intelligence networks. I have met with some of the bandits.

"We have met with some of their high commanders - one or two who have repented - they have sat down with us not once, not twice."

Mailafia said Boko Haram had already infiltrated southern Nigeria and that their plan was to spark a second civil war, noting that he cannot make spurious and unfounded allegations.

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