Contrary to the claim by the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Operation Restore Order in Maiduguri, Borno State that Boko Haram leader – Imam Abubakar Shekau – may have died from gunshot wounds, civil rights activist, Shehu Sani yesterday in Kaduna reiterated his stance that the dreaded terrorist leader might still be alive.
Sani based his assumption on the lack of evidence by the military to back up their claims as Shekau’s supposed corpse or burial spot has not been sighted.
He also said since the group is yet to announce a successor as is the pattern, it is difficult to believe that the insurgent leader is dead.
Sani, who made this known while speaking with reporters in Kaduna, described the five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) northern governors who have been engaging on consultations with prominent elder statesmen as patriots.
“Governors Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) are patriots who have the interest of the nation at heart,” he said.
The activist advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) to woo the governors to join their fold.
Sani, who is the coordinator of the Civil Society Coalition in the North and President of Civil Rights Congress, was the first person to contact some members of Boko Haram when he led former President Olusegun Obasanjo to visit high-ranking members of the sect.
He said even if it was true that Shekau was killed, his death could not mean an end to the insurgency.
Sani accused the defunct Joint Task Force (JTF) and the Saminu Turaki-led Federal Government committee of lying to Nigerians on the actual situation of things.
He said: “If he (Shekau) was killed by the JTF, there would be an announcement by the Shura Council (the Boko Haram highest organ) that Shekau had been ‘martyred’ and they would have naturally appointed a successor.
“Nigerians should not believe that Shekau has been killed until the JTF or government or the dialogue committee presents Shekau’s body before Nigerians.
“We should not misinform ourselves. The killing of Shekau will not end insurgency in Nigeria as long as there are one or two persons who are aggrieved. We will still be having problems of this insurgency and violence.
“The only way out of this insurgency is for the government to dust the report which I brought to them through former President Obasabjo and the one that was brought to them through Dr Datti Ahmed, which was facilitated by a freelance journalist, Ahmed Serkida.
“The road map for peace is first and foremost, to get mediators that are accepted by Boko Haram and recognised by the government. The Dialogue Committee is recognised by the government and not accepted by Boko Haram, as it is now. When you have a mediating body, which has the stamp of approval from both sides, both sides will listen.
“Secondly, a ceasefire needs to be agreed upon. Such a ceasefire should be announced by Boko Haram and not by the government, because all the ceasefire that has been coming up for the past two to three years was announced by the government and dismissed by Boko Haram.”