Boko Haram: I can’t be sponsor of a group I’ve not met before – Ali Modu Sheriff  

Ali Modu SheriffFormer Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, on Wednesday denied allegations that he is one of the main sponsors of militant Islamist group, Boko Haram.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Sheriff threatened to sue Stephen Davies, the Australian negotiator who recently claimed that the militants named him as one of their sponsors.  He also expressed preparedness to face any panel in the world to clear his name.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) addressed the press in Abuja on Tuesday, asking the Presidency to hand over the former governor to the International Court of Justice for prosecution following Davies’ allegation.

“I have no association with any terrorists anywhere,” he declared.  “I have never met the group. I cannot be a sponsor of a group I have not met before. I don’t have foot soldiers, as they alleged.”

Sheriff  described the allegations against him as unfair, saying they are being peddled for political reasons, and pointing out that he has suffered from the sect’s activities and was at a time even targeted for elimination.

“My name has been mentioned for political reasons over the attacks of Boko Haram. I have been accused unfairly in connection with Boko Haram since I left office,” he said.

“For the records, let me state categorically that I do not share the same ideology with Boko Haram,” he declared, adding that by his nature he is opposed to the philosophy of the militants

“It is instructive to point out that I have been one of the greatest victims of Borno. I was a target of Boko Haram during my time because I refused to abdicate my responsibility.”

He recalled that his younger brother, Alhaji Goni, as well as some friends and associates were killed by Boko Haram,.

“For the records, the late leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, once named me, Umaru Yar’Adua and some other leaders as targets. He boasted he would deal with all of us,” Sheriff continued.

He recalled that he even banned Boko Haram and outlawed the group but that the sect later changed its name and continued to wreak havoc.

“Those linking me with the sect are either ignorant or completely out for mischief. The sect has become captive of political forces and used for settling political scores.”

He said that “while in office as governor, I did my best to curtail the activities of the sect. I have never associated myself with any terrorist in any part of the world. I have never in my life met Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the Boko Haram sect, who died in circumstances that are being investigated.”