Img: Former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff during the press conference in Abuja today
Ex-governor of Borno State, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff today denied allegations him that he is one of the main sponsors of the Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Sheriff threatened to sue Stephen Davies, the Australian negotiator who recently claimed that the militants named him as one of their sponsors. He also expressed preparedness to face any panel in the world to clear his name.
“I have no association with any terrorists anywhere,” he declared. “I have never met the group. I cannot be a sponsor of a group I have not met before. I don’t have foot soldiers, as they alleged.”
The former governor described the allegations against him as unfair, saying they are being peddled for political reasons, and pointing out that he has suffered from the sect’s activities and was at a time even targeted for elimination.
“My name has been mentioned for political reasons over the attacks of Boko Haram. I have been accused unfairly in connection with Boko Haram since I left office,” he said.
“For the records, let me state categorically that I do not share the same ideology with Boko Haram,” he declared, adding that by his nature he is opposed to the philosophy of the militants
“It is instructive to point out that I have been one of the greatest victims of Borno. I was a target of Boko Haram during my time because I refused to abdicate my responsibility”.
Sheriff recalled that his younger brother, Alhaji Goni, was killed by Boko Haram, as have some of his friends and associates.
“For the records, the late leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, once named me, Umaru Yar’Adua and some other leaders as targets. He boasted he would deal with all of us,” Sheriff continued.
He recalled that he even banned Boko Haram and outlawed the group but that the sect later changed its name and continued to wreak havoc.
“Those linking me with the sect are either ignorant or completely out for mischief. The sect has become captive of political forces and used for settling political scores.”
The former governor also dismissed the allegation that some foot soldiers who turned against me became Boko Haram, noting that there are now ten thousand members of Boko Haram terrorising the people. He stressed that all of his actions as governor were to guide his people right.
“The fact that one of my commissioners, Buji Koi was named as member of the group does not make me a member. It doesn’t make sense. I leave the rest for Nigerians to judge whether it is a crime to do good to all men.”