Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and a Presidential Aspirant of African Democratic Congress (ADC) was invited recently to give account of his public assertions concerning the Boko Haram insurgency. He claimed in an interview on Nigeria Info Abuja 95.1 FM that he had a chat with two repentant Boko Haram members who told him that: ‘One of the Northern Governors was the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria… 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 rainforest of the South. They are everywhere.’
This began to raise sentiments at newspaper stands and on online platforms in trickles before the Nigerian government through the Nigerian Broadcasting Code closed down the radio station for violating ethical rules and endangering the lives of Nigerians with its platform. This swift intervention is laudable. The Nigerian Military also invited Dr Malafia. They had a six-hour interrogation to find out the veracity of his claims. Dr Malafia had ascribed his pedigree and experience to his claims, ‘Don’t joke with what I am saying. I have a PhD from Oxford University. I am a Central Banker, we don’t talk nonsense. So, don’t joke with what I am saying. I have this from the possible highest authority,’ he said.
Many Nigerians feel that the Nigerian military has all it takes to exterminate unrepentant Boko Haram members who are displacing hapless Nigerians and tormenting the commonwealth with its fearsome videos. They believe the Nigeria military has the intelligence and the technical know-how to infiltrate the Boko Haram or wrest victory from their hands forcefully. The Nigerian military had received a higher level of funding from the Retired General Buhari government than it ever did under Retired General Obadanjo and Alhaji Musa Yaradua. The Goodluck Jonathan government invested so much funds to destroy Boko Haram, yet it was the distrust in the Boko Haram situation amongst other matters that made him lose the 2015 elections. Therefore, it is instructive that the fight against insurgency as well as the resolution of intra-tribal, settler-visitor conflicts will go a long way to entrench the Buhari government in the annals of history as a great time of victory, peace and prosperity or a time of blatant chaos.
Maliafia’s comments are grave. They can be seen as inciting and incendiary. They may incite hate speeches and activate suspicion, discrimination and killings of Northern Nigerians by South Nigerians which may conflagrate into a civil war. Therefore, it is reasonable for the military to invite him, engage him under the ample guidelines of the fundamental human rights, which we hope had been done. This will go a long way to keep the Nigerian military in the good books of global human rights activists and global policymakers.
This is not the first time Dr. Malafia had raised an alarm. He has referred to the killings in Kaduna as a ‘genocide’ of large proportions. This had gone into the vortex of forgetfulness for many Nigerians. Malafia who hails from Kaduna is also the Chief of Staff of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the 79-nation multilateral development institution based in Brussels, Belgium. . So when he raised an alarm on Boko Haram, there was a skeptism over his statements. However, it is left to the military to inform Nigerians of the truth or falsity of his claims to put paid to the assertions and quell imaginative recreations of the fact. The Nigerian soldier on the field also has his ears on the ground concerning the reported politics of the Boko Haram war. Many analysts have lamented on the demotivation of the soldiers due to non-payment of salaries, welfare packages, and the absence of leaves, but it will be more disastrous if the soldiers on the front feel that they are merely used as cannon fodder for political games. Many have raised the questions concerning the questionable ways that the Boko Haram have received access menacing firepower in which it has used to shock the Nigerian troops on their own grounds. Many have pondered on the intelligence network of the Boko Haram even in those areas that have faced the brunt of its presence. This shows that the Nigerian military must do more than march into battle, it must integrate a network of spies who will give the Nigeran military valuable information that will subjugate the Boko Haram insurgents.
Can the military be transparent enough to reveal to us the important and safe aspects of his ascertain that corroborates with the truth and reality of the Boko Haram war? If Obadiah Malafia is true, then rumours of the complicity of government personalities and top military brass may be true? If they are not true, why was Malafia released unscathed and undisturbed after 6 hours of interrogation? Afterall, Malafia was not invited to a friendly tete-a-tete.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed great dismay on the long-held fight with Boko Haram insurgents. Could the Presidency be aware of some or more than it can surmount, while Malafia’s statements only grazed the tip of the conspiracy?