The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has called on security agencies to investigate the comment credited to a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, over an allegation that “one of the northern governors is the Commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria.”
In a statement by the NGF chairman and governor of Plateau state, Mr Simon Lalong, they said “the Forum is concerned about the weighty allegation made by Dr. Mailafia which must be thoroughly investigated.”
Mailafia had while featuring on ‘Morning Crossfire’ an early morning programme on Nigeria Info Abuja 95.1FM Monday, claimed among others, that repentant terrorists revealed that a serving northern governor is a leader of the insurgents.
Mailafia, who was the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 presidential election, was specifically commenting on the spate of killings in Southern Kaduna, Kaduna state.
The former CBN boss said he had a chat with two repentant terrorists, who identified the northern governor to him.
The Mailafia also said the Boko Haram elements had infiltrated Southern Nigeria with a plan to spark off a second civil war.
“Some of us also have our intelligence networks. I have met with some of the bandits; we have met with some of their high commanders, one or two who have repented, they have sat down with us not once, not twice.
“They told us that one of the Northern governors was the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same. They have a sophisticated network. During this lockdown, their planes were moving up and down as if there was no lockdown. They were moving ammunition, moving money, and distributing them across different parts of the country.
“They are already in the South, in the rain forests of the South. They are everywhere. They told us that when they finish these rural killings, they will move to phase two. Phase two is that they will go into urban cities, going from house to house killing prominent people,” he said on the radio programme.
Worried by the allegation, the northern governors called on security agencies to probe the claim.
The position was made Wednesday in a statement by the NGF chair and governor of Plateau state, Mr. Lalong.
The statement was signed by the governor’s director of press affairs, Dr. Makut Macham.
Lalong said: “The Forum which has been working with the federal government, security agencies, community, civil society, traditional and religious leaders as well as development partners to defeat terrorism, banditry and other forms of crimes in the region, finds the allegation by Dr. Mailafiya very weighty which deserves further investigation.”
“We as Northern Governors have met severally to discuss insecurity in the Northern Region and the nation at large where we did not only condemn the activities of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, bandits, armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals, but also engaged the President and all heads of security agencies in finding solutions to the problem.
“To now say that one of our members is leading Boko Haram in the Nigeria is a serious allegation that cannot be swept under the carpet. We demand immediate and thorough investigation.”
The governors also urged Mailafiya and indeed all citizens with useful information on the activities of criminals and terrorist groups to assist security agencies and governments at all levels with such intelligence for proper action.
They said “such allegations are not smear campaigns or attempts to discourage the Northern Governors who are putting in their best to bring an end to insecurity in the region.”
He said “the Forum does not, and will not support the activities of any criminal group, because they as Governors and their families are also not spared as was recently witnessed when the convoy of Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State was attacked.”
DSS summons ex-CBN boss
And in line with the northern governors’ demand, the Department of State Service (DSS) Wednesday invited the former CBN deputy governor for “possible clarification on the allegation.”
Mailafia, who arrived the Plateau state command of the agency in Jos at about 12:45pm, came in the company of Mr Pius Akumbo (SAN), and the state chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr Saleh Bawa.
Prior to his arrival, Mailafia’s loyalists, including members of different socio-cultural groups within the Middle Belt, as well as those from the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) and Association of Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (AMBEN) trooped to the DSS state command.
Mailafia, who was released hours later, spoke to journalists on what transpired during the interrogation, saying he was quoted out of context.
He said: “Yes, I was with the State Security Services, we had intense discussions over that interview which was meant for an FM radio station, some just picked the clip, a small section of the 55 minutes broadcast and put it on social media and went very far, all over the country, raising a lot of concerns.
“Yes, all of those words were made by me, but if the whole 55 minutes interview was played out, the context of what I said in the simple clip that went viral would have become clearer.
“This is not the time to disown what I said. Yes I was privy to some very sensitive information which all statements are entitled to have by virtue of public interest.
“I know I should have taken more care to corroborate some of the information that I received, but perhaps some of it was uncorroborated.
“I am in opposition to follow them to their camps and to corroborate what was going on, but I am not a sensationalist.
“Let me make it clear, I am a humanist, I am a man of peace. I love our country dearly and I abhor from the bottom of my heart all the killings and violence to which innocent people in this country have been subjected. I pray that Nigeria will never experience another civil war. I pray that the killings will stop in the North-west and North-central and North-east.
“I want to thank the officials of the State Department, they have done a tremendous job, they treated me professionally, they have not handled me so roughly, and they have been very fair and gracious to me.”
Banditry in Katsina
Meanwhile, bandits Wednesday morning attacked Gidangizo village in Faskari local government area of Katsina state and shot dead one Nasiru Alilu, 37.
It was learnt that the bandits stormed Gidangizo on motorcycles at about 12.30am and ransacked houses in the community.
Residents said the assailants also injured four persons and kidnapped two sisters, Amina Mudi, 23; and Zainaru Mudi, 20.
Alilu was said to have been killed when the bandits entered his house and demanded money which he said he did not have, and consequently shot at close range.
One of the residents said: “The bandits were more than twelve and they were fully armed. They came on motorcycles. They killed Alilu because he was arguing with them that he had no money on him when they asked for money. He was shot at close range.
“The bandits were going from house to house. At Alhaji Mudi’s house, they abducted his two daughters and took them away. Several people were also injured by the bandits.”
Spokesman of the Katsina state Police Command, Gambo Isah, confirmed the incident.
“The bandits were at the village and they killed one thirty-seven-year-old man whose name was given as Nasiru Alilu. They also abducted two ladies, Zainaru Alhaji Mudi, 20 and Amina Alhaji Mudi, 23. Four persons were injured in the attack,” the police command said.
But the duo Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna state and his Niger state counterpart, Abubakar Sani Bello, have expressed their confidence in efforts by Operation Sahel Sanity at curbing banditry in the north-west region.
El-Rufai said the security had improved greatly in the region while Sani-Bello corroborated his claim.
Both governors agreed that the development followed intensified military operations in the region and state, through the military operation.
El-Rufai and Bello were speaking when they paid official visit to the Nigeria Army Super Camp 4 in Faskari local government area of Katsina state Wednesday
Governor el-Rufai said incidents of banditry and related criminality had drastically reduced in recent weeks in the geo-political zone.
He said the state and the region were expecting bumper harvest from erstwhile abandoned farmlands if the current level of security is sustained.
“Our biggest fear as governors earlier this year was the fact that the levels of banditry had escalated in our various states in the North-west and Niger state, that farming activities would be crippled which would lead to serious economic consequences for the country, leading to food shortages, food insecurity.
“We hope to see better and improved security in our regions. Security has improved compared to what it used to be a few months ago, but there is still work to be done.
“The level of banditry has not gone down to zero, but has been reduced significantly. They’ve been decimated significantly and we are very happy with that.
“Because of that, we are more confident that we are likely to have a bumper harvest by the grace of God in Kaduna state,” the governor said.
On his part, Niger state Governor Sani-Bello said with the current security reports, incidents of banditry in his state would soon become a thing of the past.
Bello said there were plans to establish another military camp in his state, and that the same would greatly help in putting activities of bandits in check.
“I am made to understand that more camps will be coming up, one in Niger state, which I believe will go a long way towards addressing these challenges,” the governor said.
He said the new camp would improve the shortage of manpower being experienced by military personnel in the state.
The governor said the security situation could only get better so that people can begin to sleep with their two eyes closed.
“Very soon, we would have a serene, safe environment so that economic activities will continue,” he said.
Gunmen killed in Delta
Similarly, Police in Delta state have killed notorious suspected bandit and cultist terorising Warri and its environs.
The suspected hoodlum was gunned down by the police at Edjemudarho Street off Okumagba Avenue, Warri.
The suspected armed robber was said to be a kingpin of a gang of daredevil robbery gangs operating in a commercial tricycle (keke), otherwise known as Awala boys terrorizing Warri Axis. .
One of the exco members of Okere Urhobo Development Movement who pleaded anonymity said a live cartridge, one expended cartridge and a single barrel gun were recovered from the dead armed robber.
The deceased bandit was said to have been taken to the Police Divisional Headquarters, Warri
In a related development, a suspected street cultist was murdered at Akara Junction, Iyara, Warri by suspected members of a rival group.
Both incidents occurred on the same day in the afternoon.
Efforts by our correspondent to confirm the incidents from the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Delta State Police Headquarters, Asaba through text messages proved abortive at as the time of filing this report.
NAF kills several fighters
In a related development, the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has destroyed a Boko Haram terrorists’ logistics storage facility, killing several of their fighters at Yamud along the Gulumba Gana-Kumshe axis of Borno state.
Coordinator Defence Media Operations Maj. Gen. John Enenche disclosed this in a statement Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the operation was executed Tuesday “on the heels of credible intelligence reports indicating that the settlement was one of the locations where the terrorists store their logistics and assemble to launch attacks.”
“Series of follow-up aerial surveillance missions also showed significant number of terrorists within the settlement and also identified some compounds that were being used as storage facilities and meeting venues, ” he said.
“Accordingly, the Air Task Force detailed its fighter jets to attack the location scoring accurate hits leading to the destruction of the designated target structures as well as the neutralization of several of the terrorists.”