In no ordinary circumstance will I take the pain to write this. But as much as I wish to be temperate and political, refraining from releasing this article while Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari makes this hallmark trip, I realize that had I resisted saying the uncomfortable truths as and at when due in the past, perhaps we will not have this wonderful moment we do today…and this moment of hope may not last and be true should I(we) give up the forthrightness, honesty and dedication to Nigeria’s peace and progress, which beyond anything else that has helped us on this path. This is why I, without hesitation, called for the sack of the Security Chiefs and this is why I write this now.
Necessary Background On What ACTIONS Are
I got into the war against Boko Haram in mid 2012 [*Do not lose the conversation train, this is going somewhere very important], in August of 2012, Boko Haram was bombing Churches especially every Sunday, provoking a religious war in Nigeria. The war had started in Kaduna at the time with a 24-hour curfew having to be imposed to curtail the mobs.
An organization I was the media and PR officer for, Muslims Against Terror decided that in the absence of action from the Nigerian government, the State governments (including Borno) and many (not all) public Traditional and Muslim leaders, we must grab the mantle and protect peace. We first declared that Muslims should come out and defend Churches. This viral message followed up by radio interviews marked the end of the Church bombing campaign as Boko Haram immediately put its sights on Muslims and Mosques. Let’s tag this- ACTION.
Seeing that no one involved in administration in Nigeria recognized that if indeed Abubakar Shekau was a terrorist, and if as was clear he operated across several countries, he must be declared wanted, we did so in August of 2012. Muslims Against Terror declared Abubakar Shekau wanted and put a bounty of $10,000 on his head. This action prompted the Nigerian disastrous security department under its NSA, Minister of Defense, DSS and military chiefs to finally declare Shekau wanted three months later and put a bounty on his head. This was followed by the US government finally recognizing they needed do the same almost a year later. Tag that ‘ACTION’ again.
Our organization continued to denounce Boko Haram as ‘haram’ and encourage Muslims to do so. ACTION. This was a period when most Nigeria’s Muslims were reluctant – perhaps afraid – to denounce the terrorists. A period when northern State governors were actually alleged to have been paying Boko Haram “Protection Money” for their States. This was a time when the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP chairman, Bamanga Tukur (who remains a free man till date) actually said, “Boko Haram is fighting for justice, Boko Haram is another name for justice;” and received little to no condemnation from Nigeria’s Muslim elite, northern governors (including Borno) or the Federal government.
Boko Haram by May of 2013 had seized 21 local governments of 27 in Borno, almost conquering the entire State. As part of a think-tank, we wrote several detailed intelligence-based reports, importantly, the “Nigeria At War” viral release which pressed Nigeria’s then President, Goodluck Jonathan to truncate his trip to Africa’s South and return home to declare a state of Emergency and order the needed deployment of troops to the north to at last, seriously combat Boko Haram, as we clearly recommended (dictated) in our report. Our report that saved Borno from being completely conquered was rejected by northern elite and Nigeria’s governors (of which Borno is a member), who stated thus “The NGF said that the request for emergency rule was being made by people who do not wish the country well…” Again, ACTION.
Boko Haram may have been a thing of the past had then President Jonathan been truly committed to eradicating it and had he abided by our full recommendations in the report which included the suspending of the northern eastern State political administrators, especially Shettima and installing military administrators.
By August that year, Nigeria was able to recover most of its territory, sending Boko Haram into Sambisa… before the Jonathan-led government with his military chief Azubuike Ihejirika surprisingly and ‘treacherously’ dissolved the effective Joint Task Force, replacing it with a disabled Division 7 and Boko Haram returned. ACTION.
ENDS continued to muster support for the Civilian-JTF, heroes in defending the north, while there was little to no support from the Federal and State governments.
So where are we going with this?
A Failed Governor: Dearth of ACTIONS
Where are Shettima’s ACTIONS? President Jonathan was sacked for feigning helpless in the face of Boko Haram; Shettima, the governor of Borno more than any Nigerian shares that endowment.
Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima has been an inefficient and completely failed governor throughout the Boko Haram crisis. Where was he in all these? What was he doing while we, members of poorly self-funded organizations were dictating and commandeering the essential awareness, actionable intelligence and firm actions that repeatedly held Boko Haram at bay, liberated his State twice and kept Nigeria from collapsing into a state of disarray and total ethnic strife?
While we (ENDS) in December raised the alert on the insecurity implications of the continuous lack of power in displaced persons-loaded Maiduguri, which prompted Jonathan’s government to restore the power in weeks, does anyone know of Shettima making such call?
Did anyone read his public statements? Did anyone hear of his funding the over 30,000 Civilian-JTF who fought and died to keep Maiduguri and other towns safe. I must have missed this.
In April of 2014 when 234 girls were abducted from a school in Christian predominant Chibok town, we raised viral alarms and hundreds of hunters, ex-service men and youth gathered in Borno asking for the right to combat Boko Haram and rescue the abducted girls.
Upon meeting with Governor Shettima, he denied to give them the permission. The girls and hundreds other remain abducted and violated by Boko Haram till date.
In Contrast, Adamawa Administrators Proved Much Different
Let us contrast with the two past governors of also affected Adamawa State. It is recollected that former Adamawa governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako made the necessary noise with the tools of the State at his disposal alerting Nigerians and the world – while meeting with officials of the United States on a State visit – on the pogrom going on and the Nigerian military, now condemned and sacked by president Muhammadu Buhari and the United States, who he rightly accused of enabling the pogrom with the systematic transfer of State weapons, tanks and other military apparatus to the terrorists and their other atrocities. He was urgently sacked utilizing impeachment for his bravery and true stance on behalf of those in his charge. This was ACTION by Nyako. Shettima rather had his people die than face the persecution of Jonathan.
We likewise remember that in contrast to the incompetent behavior of the governor of Borno, when former president Goodluck Jonathan with his partner in crime, president of Chad, Idris Debby announced the sham cease fire – to allow Boko Haram regroup (CNN) – and the terrorists descended on Adamawa State and seized the entire northern aspect, then governor Bala Ngilari immediately swung into action and chartered (with pay) all hunters in Nigeria. The Ibn Fadlallah hunters, led by a local, Sarkin Baka head hunter, recovered the main town of Mubi and other towns from the terrorists before Nigeria’s State security department in embarrassment, clamped down on the brave hunters and arrested them. This was ACTION by Ngilari.
So as the United States stated yesterday that tackling Boko Haram involves more than military might, (Biden: victory cannot come from military option alone) we recognize that among the factors that facilitated the terror epi-centered in Shettima’s Borno is the inaction, obstructions and careless actions of Borno’s governor.
I have in the past said that what Boko Haram did to Borno would never happen in any State in Nigeria or the entire world under a responsible administrator. It is obvious that the governor of Borno was distracted throughout the Boko Haram saga and allowed the death and harm of over 100,000 innocent Nigerians, rape of hundreds and displacement of millions with property destruction to the tune of billions of dollars.
He failed to use the tools of the media to call the necessary global attention to the crises even when twice he lost 21 of 27 local governments in his State. He failed to address the abduction of the Chibok girls in a school he allowed to remain open in spite of clear stipulations not to and he failed to support the Civilian-multitudes with the abundant finance of the State in their fight to stave off Boko Haram.
When in January of the year, over 2500 innocent Nigerians in the Muslim predominant border region of Baga and environs, were butchered to death, we recollect there was a global media blackout. But what did the Borno administrator also do? Does any reader recollect him using the tools at his disposal to raise proper attention to the worst single event of most calamitous tragedy of the decade that afflicted his State? A State administrator who receives “Security vote” money has more duties to his people. Duties Shettima unquestionably rescinded.
So why was Governor Shettima distracted?
A Corrupt Governor
Borno State has through the Boko Haram crises been the largest recipient of billions in Security votes. As stated above, this money is unaccounted for. The governor recently denied embezzling the money claiming he used it to by armored carriers, patrol vehicles, etc, however we challenge him to substantiate the purchases of these to the tune of the billions his State receives and to show us where these so-called vehicles were deployed in the war against Boko Haram across Borno, and not only for his personal protection. We as supporters of the Civilian-JTF are fully aware of what aid they have received and how the people have had to fend for themselves across all local governments of Borno except the capital.
Former Borno State governor Ali Modu Sheriff, has been implicated by his friend, Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a sponsor of Boko Haram, by townsmen and also by several experts including negotiator Stephen Davis; and is reputed for a corrupt tenure which led to the evolution of Boko Haram which his administration had recruited as a political Ecomog force. However it is important to establish that Ali Modu Sheriff’s tenure, being investigated for corruption, had as its commissioner of the ministry of finance and economic development, the very current governor Kashim Shettima. Nothing was financed and there was no development in Borno – which led to Boko Haram. Governor Sheriff has repeatedly told him that he dares him to spill the beans as they will go down together. The EFCC has gone after Modu for N300 billion ($2 billion). His commissioner of finance is clearly implicated.
Babakaka Kalli Habib wrote extensively on “How Kashim Shettima Benefits From All The Terrorist Attacks,” giving 21 accounts. It includes several self-indicting statements by the governor. His document should be read.
On “Spilling The Beans”
Governor Kashim Shettima has of his own volition admitted to knowing the sponsors of Boko Haram but aiding and abetting them by keeping mute. Quoting the governor and there is video evidence of his statements as paraphrased: “If I speak (on Boko Haram), heads will roll.”
Such an administrator is a national security risk by all means.
He must be made to speak because the masses are tired of their heads alone rolling.
More On Corruption
A recent report detailed how Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima has through the Boko Haram saga, been buying up all choice properties in Maiduguri, capital of Borno. We have seen documents to this effect as the governor is typically described to pay whatever is asked for the top notch properties without bothering to negotiate. Displaced village chiefs have been lodged in his personal properties which the report stated that due to the assumption of power of anti-corruption president Muhammdu Buhari, he has been hurriedly forging and backdating documents to transfer the properties to the State government.
Additionally on corruption, it has observed that donated relief items for displaced persons are re-branded with Shettima’s political posters and often waylaid to the homes of State officials.
Corruption distracts from duties to provide security and feeds on an environment of chaos that distracts attention. This State corruption as with that at the center has been deadly.
Direct Links To Terrorists
Governor Kashim Shettima has had in his employ the same men linked to terror that were used by former governor Ali Modu Sheriff. One such man who was Shettima’s chairman Metropolitan council, and now rode the party to victory as a Representative of the State at the corrupt National Assembly House of Reps, is Alhaji Kadiri Rahis. We authoritatively confirm that he is linked to terror.
Based on the above and more details too many to mention here, we submit that governor Kashim Shettima, who accompanied president Muhammadu Buhari on his trip to DC is culpable in the misappropriation of Nigeria’s looted billions and the Boko Haram crises and represents the very things Buhari and Obama are committed to combating. He represents corruption and he represents prevalence of intractable terror.
In the interest of the desperate people of Borno and environs who we are, by membership and by humanity, we urge ACTION from both distinguished leaders.
I write this for the Chibok girls. May the Lord keep pleading our case.
22 “Do not rob a poor man because he is poor, and don’t crush the oppressed at the gate, 23 For the LORD will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them.” -Proverbs 22:22-23 HCSB