*asks Jonathan to Hand over Sheriff, others to ICC for prosecution
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA–Following the revelations of alleged Boko Haram sect sponsors by the Australian negotiator, Mr. Stephen Davies, the All Progressive Congress, APC, yesterday declared that it has been vindicated.
The party also stated that the development has now revealed that members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and political allies of President Goodluck Jonathan are the true sponsors of the Sect.
To substantiate its claim, the party played a newsreel footage of a conversation between Davies and a broadcaster from Arise Television in London where the former mentioned the alleged sponsors.
It particularly called the President to handover the former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff whose name was mentioned to the International Court of Justice, ICC, for immediate prosecution.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the national chairman of the party, Mr. John Oyegun said that PDP has politicized Boko Haram.
He said: “Dr. Stephen Davis, a man hired by the President Jonathan-led Federal Government to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of the Chibok girls decided to speak out, believing the best way to tackle the insurgency is to expose the sponsors. And who are they? On international television last Thursday, and as you have just seen and heard, he named former Borno Governor Ali Modu Sheriff and a former Army Chief, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, as the sponsors of Boko Haram.
“The truth is finally out. We have been vindicated. We have no hand in the Boko Haram insurgency. The raison d’etre of our party is the well-being and security of Nigerians
“The sponsors of Boko Haram are within the PDP and the Presidency. They are known friends of President Jonathan. He knows them and they know him.
“The man who exposed these Boko Haram sponsors is a Jonathan-appointed Negotiator. He has no axe to grind, neither does he have any motive to shield the APC or portray the PDP/Presidency in bad light. In fact, if he had any sympathy at all, it is for the man who hired him, President Jonathan.
“We have said it all along. Boko Haram was politicized purely for one reason, and one reason only: To be used as a trump card for President Jonathan to win another term. For that strategy to work, the APC, which they see as the only stumbling block to the PDP’s victory in 2015, must be maligned and labeled. Gullible, duplicitous and self-serving politicians like Femi Fani-Kayode swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker, and started parroting the glaring lies. PDP spokesman Olisa Metuh, an obvious pawn on the chess board, followed suit, labelling a party that comprises Nigerians of all ethnic and religious hue a Janjaweed and Islamic party. Now he is stewing in his own juice.
“Now that the cat has been let out of the bag and the real sponsors of Boko Haram have been exposed, we hope President Jonathan will summon the courage to do the right thing: Hand over the identified Boko Haram sponsors to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation and prosecution.
“There is no doubt that Boko Haram has committed crimes against humanity in its scorched-earth campaign against unharmed citizens, and the most appropriate body to investigate and try the sect’s sponsors is the ICC.
“According to Article 17 of the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, and to which Nigeria is signatory, the ICC is a court of last resort, expected to exercise its jurisdiction only if states themselves are unwilling or unable genuinely to investigate and prosecute international crimes.”
According to Oyegun, President Jonathan should not feign ignorance of Sheriff’s involvement in the Boko Haram’s activities.
“President Jonathan cannot pretend not to know the alleged role that Ali Modu Sheriff has played in the establishment and growth of Boko Haram, yet he never allowed the man to even be questioned by any of the security agencies under his control. All through his time with our Party, every time they accused us of sponsoring Boko Haram, on the basis of his presence, we challenged them if they had evidence to arrest any of our members who is suspected to be a sponsor, they never did. They dared not, because Sheriff was their agent. Even if he had remained in the APC after we democratically encouraged him to go, they would still not have arrested him,” he said.
Reminding the president that as the Commander-in- Chief, “the buck stops on his desk,” Oyegun recalled attempts by the PDP to cover up its involvement, assuring Nigerians that now the truth had finally prevailed, APC would ensure that it would not be swept under the carpet.
“In a rare moment of truth, a top official of the Jonathan Administration, no less a personality than the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, situated the Boko Haram problem within the PDP. Shortly thereafter he was fired, and he later died in controversial circumstances. Still we waited.
“They distorted and misrepresented the statements made by our leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to try to convince the world that he was indeed the main sponsor of Boko Haram. They continued to echo the same slander about Gen. Buhari that was started by Presidential Spokesman Reuben Abati in 2011, and for which he and his cohorts eventually begged to settle out of court and to apologize to the General. Still we waited.
“Nigerians can rest assured that the APC will not allow this issue to be swept under the carpet,” Oyegun stated.