The Australian hostage negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis, who tried to negotiate the release of the over 200 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram, says he will soon name ‘bigger sponsors’ of the sect.
Davis, who has already named former governor of Borno state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and former Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (retd), as Boko Haram sponsors, told an online publication that the sponsors “epitomise all that the Boko Haram fighters are seeking to eliminate from Nigeria”.
He dismissed insinuation that Boko Haram commanders named the All Progressives Congress (APC) as their sponsor.
“I have been in close contact with the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (JAS) and Boko Haram over several years. In that time, I have never heard any political party mentioned by any Boko Haram leader as funding or being associated with Boko Haram”, he said.
“The JAS leaders and Boko Haram commanders have only mentioned individuals like former Governor Sheriff. I heard Sheriff was APC and now PDP but his political party is irrelevant to me. I have never mentioned political parties in my discussions with the JAS and Boko Haram. The names of individual sponsors were given by Boko Haram leaders, not their political party association”.
He added: “Former governor Sheriff was specifically mentioned many times. For example, Sheriff was mentioned as sponsoring trips for the boys to go for the Lesser Hajj. There the boys are ‘reorientated’. In effect they are recruited to Boko Haram. When they return to Nigeria the recruits are then taken off for further reorientation by which they mean teaching and for training. Some of the training took place in Mali by Tuareg leaders but now more training is conducted locally”.
On the true identity of the ‘Abubakar Shekau’ claimed to have been killed last week by the Nigerian military, Davies said: “I have heard so many senior commanders tell me that Shekau is dead. It was several weeks after that before a Shekau video appeared on YouTube.
“When I viewed that video with JAS leaders they immediately said, ‘that boy, we have used him before’. They were totally dismissive of any claim that Shekau was still alive. They referred to the person in the video as the ‘fake Shekau’.
“Some months later one of the senior commanders told me the name of the fake Shekau was Abdul Mutallif. The commander who named him was the one who wrote the script that the fake Shekau reads from in the videos.
“But I have heard they have used more than one fake Shekau. In July this year I was told the fake Shekau is Isa Damasaka. Earlier in June they referred to him as Bashir. We had been in communication with him over the release of the Chibok girls. Isa Damasaka is one of the names the military has released when identifying the man killed at Kondunga last week. He has also been identified as Bashir Mohammed so I am confident this man is indeed the fake Shekau”, the Australian stressed.