Former Borno State Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sherrif, has said he is ready to face any probe panel that would be set to investigate allegations suggesting he is a sponsor of Boko Haram, even as he described himself as a victim and not a sponsor of the sect.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday described the statement credited to the National Chairman of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) that those financing the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents in the country are friends to President Goodluck Jonathan as lacking in validity, character and intellectual content.
Sherriff, a two term governor of the state, made the claim at a news conference in Abuja, following widespread allegations by an Australian, Stephen Davies that he was a major sponsor of the sect in Nigeria.
The revelation by Davies, who claims to be a Boko Haram negotiator engaged by Nigeria, forced the All Progressives Congress to address the press in Abuja on Tuesday, asking the Presidency to hand over the former governor to the International Court of Justice for prosecution.
But at a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, Sheriff rebuked Davies for trying to link him with the atrocities of the Boko Haram sect, saying that the Australian was acting the script prepared by some selfish politicians, who wanted to smear him for defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party.
The former governor, who denied any links with the sect, pointed out that he should be pitied for losing his brother, cousin and numerous political supporters to the sect.
He also denied ever meeting and supporting the slain leader of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf, pointing out that his brand of Islam did not tally with that of the sect.
Sheriff said that as a successful international businessman before he veered into politics, he would not stoop low to support terrorism and had always spoken out against the sect thereby incurring its wrath.
“While in office as governor, I did my best to curtail the activities of the sect. I have never associated myself with any terrorist in any part of the world. I have never in my life met Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the Boko Haram sect, who died in circumstances that are being investigated,” Sheriff said.
However, the PDP in a statement made available to newsmen by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, alleged that the APC boss “cheapened his office and person by attempting to use an unempirical statement by Australian Dr. Stephen Davis, to absolve his party of blames for promoting insurgency in the country.”
According to him “Oyegun’s statement rather than exonerate the APC has reinforced and underscored its true identity as a party of desperate politicians supportive of violence and disunity through their utterances and body language, a fact that is already well known to all Nigerians.”
The PDP also accused the APC boss of standing the truth on its head with a view to laundering his party’s image through propaganda and blackmail.
According to the party, Oyegun chose to exonerate his party by being silent on Davis’ allegation that those financing the insurgents are those people opposed to President Goodluck’s administration.
Metuh said “If not to achieve the self-serving purpose of exonerating the APC, why would Oyegun’s statement choose to be silent on the revelation by Davis that some people opposed to President Goodluck Jonathan used their connections to Boko Haram to frustrate his efforts?
“We also wonder why the APC has chosen to ignore some of the revealing aspects of Dr. Davis’ interview concerning Boko Haram’s funding and sponsorship. Is it because they are not favourable to them?
While not holding brief for anybody, it is clear to every discerning mind that Oyegun’s statement, with all intent and purpose is yet another decoy to frustrate genuine effort at finding solution to the security challenges we face as a nation to the advantage of the APC whose penchant to use the promotion of violence as tool to achieve political control is well known to all,” he alleged.
Metuh, who accused Oyegun of making inflammatory statements capable of disrupting the peace of the nation also added “Chief Oyegun has only succeeded in disappointing many Nigerians who thought his coming to office will result in a more responsible and constructive opposition. Instead, the reprehensible image of the APC as a party that has nothing good to offer has worsened under his watch.
In the last two months, he has made more incendiary statements aimed to incite the people and balkanize the nation than any other opposition chairman has done. The threat to form a parallel government and other inflammatory statements at APC events readily come to mind.”