News Analysis: Ahmadu, Boko Haram broker most likely an impostor


Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

Bayo Onanuga

There are indications that the man with whom Nigeria’s military and presidency officials agreed a truce over the raging insurgency in the North east of the country may be an impostor, who may not have any connection with Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader.

Multiple analysts have already cast doubt on the credibility of the ceasefire agreed with Nigeria, with scepticism about the identity of the purported Boko Haram envoy who allegedly represented the Islamists at recent talks in neighbouring Chad, agency reports said.

The VOA had reported that the talks was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and quoted Ahmadu as saying Chadian and Cameroonian officials were involved.

Shekau: part of ceasefire talks?
Shekau: part of ceasefire talks?

Various sources with intimate knowledge of the insurgent group said the envoy, Danladi Ahmadu, had no connection to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

In six tweets today, Ahmad Salkida, the Nigerian journalist, now on retreat in the UAE and with proven contacts with the leadership of Boko Haram dented the credibility of the ceasefire and appeared to suggest that Nigeria may have been hoodwinked by the broker.

He tweeted as follows:
“I guess Nigerians are tired and as such, any news that offers respite on this protracted war between Nigeria & #BokoHaram is always welcome.Sadly anybody that demised(sic) such good news becomes Nigeria’s enemy. But the leadership of #BH are said to be miffed that a nation of the profile and magnitude of Nigeria, with high level of intelligent people is being easily encased in deceit and nobody seems to be asking tough questions.

“What is most worrying here is, government at the highest level and the intelligence formations in #Nigeria has embraced this ‘good news,.This shows lack of understanding of the reality that this is an ideology that can only be neutralised after long hardwork that is yet to start

“It also appears that government is more interested in shadows and bubbles, than in substance and clear headed engagement with the #BokoHaram ideology”, Salkida concluded.

The last time Salkida faulted Nigeria’s military was over the purported death of Abubakar Shekau, said to have been killed in the battle for Konduga. Salkida insisted the man was alive, but military spokesmen said he was dead. Some few days after, Shekau appeared in a new video and announced he was alive.

“What is most worrying here is, government at the highest level and the intelligence formations in #Nigeria has embraced this ‘good news,.This shows lack of understanding of the reality that this is an ideology that can only be neutralised after long hardwork that is yet to start”—-Salkida

Nigeria had been fooled before with such Boko Haram ceasefire, only for the sect to erupt with more deadly attacks on Nigerian targets.

In July 2013,one Imam Muhammadu Marwana, who claimed to represent Boko Haram gleefully announced a ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram.

On the Hausa Service of Radio France International where the agreement was unveiled, Marwana not only sought Nigerians forgiveness for the sect’s past murderous activities, he absolved the sect from the attack on Government Secondary School, Maudo, Yobe state. Described as an influential Boko haram member, Marwana said:

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“WE are seeking forgiveness from the people over the number of people killed in the country.
I appeal to those who lost their loved ones to our activities to forgive us and on our side we have forgiven all those who committed atrocities against us. I want to state clearly that we have no hands in the unfortunate attack on the secondary school (Government Secondary School, Mamudo, Yobe State).”

The so-called agreement came exactly 82 days after the Federal Government raised a 25-man committee to work out modalities for granting the amnesty to the sect.

The ‘agreement’ was signed on behalf of the Jonathan government by Minister of Special Duties and Chairman of the Peace and Dialogue Committee in the North, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki. It was the eve of Ramadan and Nigerians wanted peace.

“We have sat down and agreed that Jama’atu Ahlul Sunnah Lidda’awati wal Jihad, known as Boko Haram will lay down their arms as part of the agreement so as to end the insurgency. Government agreed with ceasefire and will look into ways to ensure that the troops relax their activities till the final take off of the ceasefire,” Turaki told his interviewers.

As it turned out, the agreement was not worth the piece of paper it was written upon.

Boko Haram stepped up its deadly campaign and the rest is history.

Analysts believed that the Jonathan administration may be looking for a window of peace, preparatory to President Jonathan’s declaration for the nation’s presidency, days after his likely principal contender, Muhammadu Buhari made a similar declaration in Abuja.

At the moment, there has been a lull in fighting in the frontline, despite reports that many towns in the North east seized by the sect, are still in their firm grip and their Islamic Caliphate. Among them are Bama, Gamboru Ngala, Kala-Balge, Gwoza and Dikwa LGAs of Borno State.

“Contrary to earlier reports that the said local government areas were reclaimed by the Nigerian government and are now under the control of Nigerian troops, they are still under the control of the Boko Haram,” representative Abdurrahman Talbe told the House on Thursday.

As Nigeria observed ceasefire despite the $1 billion loan approved to buy arms, neighbouring Cameroon, has been busy piling pressure on the Boko haram insurgents. In its latest statement on brushes with the insurgent, the cameroon defence ministry, said its soldiers had killed 107 insurgents this week.

The “fighting of rare violence” occurred in two areas in the north on Wednesday and Thursday and also resulted in the deaths of eight soldiers, the defence ministry said in a statement read on state radio.

The question most Nigerians should ask the military authorities is: Why will the military accept with gush a ceasefire by the sect at the time the country is building a West African coalition counter-force against the rag tag soldiers of Boko Haram?

Why waste all the time hosting defence chiefs of the neighbouring countries and the foreign affairs ministers, when we seem to have lost the appetite to crush the enemies?

Why did the officials give conflicting accounts of the terms of the ceasefire: one person said the kidnapped 219 girls would be released. Another said, their freedom was not part of the deal. What deal should be more paramount now: buying fighting holiday for our soldiers or buying freedom for the girls spending their seventh month with the Boko Haram militants?

I wonder and I think you should wonder too.

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