Like an ‘abiku’, the evil child that keeps dying and returning, accusing fingers over the birthing of Boko Haram continues to point at former governor of Borno State and factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
Incumbent governor of the state, Kashim Shettima, on Monday accused Sheriff, his predecessor, of causing the coming and escalation of the dreaded Islamic jihadist group through his inaction and weakness as the governor of the state.
The governor made this pronouncement during an annual lecture in honour of late Head of State, Murtala Mohammed in Abuja.
His statement was in response to a political statement said to have been made by Sheriff, where he said that Boko Haram did not hold any territory in Borno state during his stay as a governor and at the time he handed over power.
But delivering a paper entitled, “Managing the Boko Haram crisis in Borno state, experiences and lessons for a multi-party, multi ethnic and multi religious Nigeria”, Shettima argued that Mohammed Yusuf, the late Boko Haram founder, utilised the opportunity provided by Sheriff’s weakness and failure to provide good leadership to declare a jihad.
He said, “The fact is that Sheriff allowed his ego to overcome his action and failed to settle the differences between armed forces and members of Yusuffiya movement at the time.”
The governor, who recalled that Yusuf was a fierce critic of Sheriff’s administration added, “In July 2009, some armed security agencies clashed with members of the sect over the use of helmets and shot 17 of them.
“A governor should have at least visited victims of the shooting to lay foundation for peace and he should have set up a commission of inquiry just like what Governor Nasir El Rufai did in Kaduna recently. He (Sheriff) chose to mismanage the incident. He did not send anyone or settle the medical bill of anyone and he played into their hands. That gave Yusuf an opening to declare jihad.”
Fingers have continued to point at Sheriff as reason for the birth of the terrorist group, whose activities has left many homes in perpetual grief and caused the country so much in resources and manpower.
The Borno State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kaka Lawan, had last year while speaking at the 56th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Port Harcourt, claimed that the insecurity created by Sheriff in Borno few years ago metamorphosed into Boko Haram.
While Sheriff has continued to dismiss this allegation, it has continued to return like an ‘abiku’.
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