Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawan, Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Borno State has deposed 40 reasons to support his claim that the erstwhile governor of the state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff precipitated the Boko Haram insurgency that has led to more than 20,000 deaths and displacement of more than two million persons in the Northeast.
Reacting to Sheriff’s demand for apology and facts on his claim first made at the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA conference in Port-Harcourt, Lawan articulated 40 reasons he said showed that Sheriff’s arrogance and desperation for power may have nurtured the insurgency through his actions while in office. Challenging Sheriff’s uprightness in the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the group in 2009, he said: “In an interview on Sunday Politics on Channels TV, Ali Modu Sheriff said about two weeks ago, that he had seen Mohammed Yusuf at the Giwa military Barracks in Maiduguri after he was arrested during 2009 crisis.
The important question is why was Yusuf moved from the military custody to the police headquarters if not for him to be killed, especially given the fact that Buji Foi was taken to the same police headquarters and killed.” What did Sheriff as Chief security officer do to secure Muhammad Yusuf. Why was Muhammad Yusuf not allowed to make open confessions which could have included his claim of being betrayed. “On July 5, 2011, former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff tendered an apology to the Boko Haram sect “for whatever he might have done wrong to them”.
Why did he apologize, if he knew he did nothing wrong to the sect.” Noting the killing of 17 members of the group allegedly by security officers while on a funeral procession in 2009, the commissioner said the complacency of Sheriff government on the issue was a moral burden. “The Borno Government under Ali Modu Sheriff completely disregarded that incident. The government did not issue statement to condemn the shooting; the sympathise with the victims; the Government did not conduct any inquiry on the shooting; the government neither visited the shot sect members in the hospital nor did it care to pay for the medication of the 17 injured sect members.
“Sheriff was told by different public commentators, including some officials in his administration that his act of disregard for that bloody incident could be viewed by the sect as an affront yet out of arrogance, Sheriff ignored all wise counsel with his government acting as if there was no incident at all.
“In an interview on Daily Trust a few days later, leader of the sect, Malam Muhammad Yusuf threatened a reprisal attack alleging that the actions of the Borno State Government which neither condemned the shooting, made inquiry nor empathized with the sect was an indication that the shooting was orchestrated with the aim of eliminating his followers .
“A day or so after the interview, Yusuf delivered a sermon in Hausa language, titled, “open letter to President Umaru Musa Yar’adua” and directed his followers to go and arm themselves in preparation of self defense and eventful Jihad in response to the shooting of his 17 followers. “Even while Muhammad Yusuf issued this directive and threat for Jihad, Governor Ali Modu Sheriff still disregarded the possible room to make peace with the sect.
“On Tuesday, July 21, 2009, some members of the sect, 9 in number were arrested in possession of 74 empty bomb shells, a large quantity of gun powders, chemicals and other components of making improvised explosive devices. They were arrested in Biu, headquarters of Biu local government area in southern part of Borno State, which is about 180 kilometers away from Maiduguri.
“On Friday, July 24, 2009, the nine arrested sect members were paraded at the police headquarters in Maiduguri with their materials for making Improvised explosive devices on display by the police. “Commander of the group of 9 sect members, Inusa Ibrahim Sabo told journalists on record that they were in possession of the explosive materials in preparation to defend themselves against Ali Modu Sheriff’s operation flush.
He said they were directed by Muhammad Yusuf to arm themselves because they presumed the shooting of their brothers was intentional and they were no longer safe. “That very Friday of July 24, 2009, the first explosion in Maiduguri took place. It was a locally made bomb which exploded at night in the residence of one Hassan Sani Badami from Biu, a follower of the sect trained in making explosive devices.
The bomb exploded while it was being prepared by Badami. Another follower of the sect working with Badami sustained severe injuries while Badami’s wife and child were taken to the headquarters of Operation Flush on Dikwa road. “The following day, Muhammad Yusuf in reaction, described Badami’s death as ticket for him into paradise.