by Ibrahim Kabiru Sule, Romoke W. Ahmad & Kabiru R. Anwar, Yola
Equipment, vehicles and goods belonging to government and other Nigerians reportedly stolen by Boko Haram insurgents have been smuggled to the Republic of Chad, officials said yesterday.
Nigerian ambassador to Chad Mohammed Dauda and Adamawa state government officials confirmed the report saying steps to recover the items had been taken already.
“Yes, we heard about the story and then we also received a report from Nigeria, urging us to investigate the whereabouts of the stolen equipment from Mubi by the Boko Haram members,” Ambassador Dauda said in an interview with BBC Hausa service yesterday.
“Ever since we got the report, we quickly wrote to the Chadian Gendarme – which is the police, the military and their immigration office,” he said. “We don’t know exactly the items, but there are indications that reveal they are government and schools vehicles, household goods, furniture and other goods stolen from burgled shops.
Ambassador Dauda called on the Cameroonian authorities to also launch investigation “because there is about 300 kilometres to cover in Cameroon before entering Chad from Nigeria. Hence it is possible for such items to be lost within the country, too.”
He called on Nigerians to discard the belief that relations between Nigeria and Chad are rusty.
The insurgents two months ago captured Mubi and several towns and looted shops. Reports at the time quoted the insurgents as having boasted that the large quantity of food and household goods they took away could last them for at least a year.
The towns were re-captured by the military aided by vigilante and hunters last month.
Also, the Adamawa State government is pushing for investigation into reports indicating that goods looted by Boko Haram insurgents from the state were taken to Chad.
In an interview with Daily Trust yesterday, Phineas Elisha, the spokesman to Governor Bala Ngilari, said government would lodge a formal complaint with the federal government on the issue.
“Government has been informed that goods carted away from Mubi found their way in to Chad. In fact there are many vehicles with Adamawa State registration number that were seen crossing in to Chad”, he stated.
He said the state government will soon cause the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Ministry to take up the matter with Chadian government.
Meanwhile, the councillor representing Digil Ward in Mubi North Local Government Council, Sahabo Bello, has called on the federal government to rise up to the challenge and demand explanation from Chadian authorities.
He also asked President Goodluck Jonathan to assist business men to rebuild their businesses, saying property worth billions of naira have been looted in Mubi.
A displaced person from Mubi said most of Boko Haram fighters he saw in Mubi before his subsequent escape were from Chad and could not speak Hausa or any Nigerian language.
According to him, goods ranging from foodstuff, vehicles, motorcycles, house wares to clothing materials were carted away.
“We know Chadians because we lived with them for many years. Most of the Boko Haram fighters I saw in Mubi were typical Chadians and we got information from the border that goods looted from shops and houses in Mubi were taken across the border in to Chad”, he said.
The ministry of foreign affairs yesterday said it had not received any official report of complain from Adamawa government yet.
Spokesperson of the ministry, Mr. Ode Ogbole told Daily Trust that the ministry would respond as soon as it gets a report on the issue.
Efforts to get Chadian Embassy officials to react on the matter proved abortive as all the telephone numbers of the Ambassador were not available. When our reporter visited the embassy, there was nobody to attend to her because all the staff had closed for the day.