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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

SSS Clears Ihejirika And Sheriff, Arrests Seven 'Fraudulent' Associates Of Stephen Davis

The SSS claims that following Davis' August allegations, which indicted former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika, and former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff as sponsors of the Boko Haram sect, an investigation was launched to determine the culpability of the two figures in the insurgency.

The service now claims that Davis was prompted to indict Ihejirka and others based on allegations that the military under Ihejirika stood in the way of Davis in his attempts to reach the Nigerian presidency regarding the kidnapping of 276 girls in Chibok, Borno State, earlier this year. The SSS also claims that Davis and others fraudulently conspired to blackmail and implicate Sheriff and Mala Othman, former State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.

The group arrested today is composed of students, traders, and radio journalists, many of whom were reportedly connected with Boko Haram activities at particular points. They are said to have made between N62,000 and N4 million for their roles in the scheme.

Though the SSS claims to have received confessions from the seven suspects, no other concrete evidence, including implicating documents and text messages the service maintains Davis sent to these associates, were presented to further discredit Davis' operation in Nigeria.

In a statement published in September, Davis maintains that his role in negotiations with Boko Haram was genuine and that he conducted his actions without being bribed or bribing others. "I never paid anyone and no one paid me either by way of funds or favours," Davis said.

A November statement from the negotiator (here sourced from The Cable newspaper), further stated that the SSS was targeting Davis and his associates, including Junaidu Idris, who was among the seven arrested by the SSS.

"I have known Junaidu Idris, a resident of Maiduguri, for many years," Davis said.

"When we needed a respected and trustworthy Kanuri speaker to assist in the June 2011 peace discussions with Baa Fugu’s family we asked Junaidu and he graciously accepted at some risk to himself. Governor Shettima had then recently been elected and joined the dialogue. Junaidu was not paid for his services and saw it as his duty as a citizen of Nigeria.

"In May this year when we again needed a Kanuri speaker to travel with us to assist in the handover of a large group of girls in Borno State Junaidu agreed to travel with the government’s medical team. Again he did not seek any funds. The SSS has arrested Junaidu for providing such support to efforts to return kidnapped girls to their families. He too has been held without charge and without access to legal counsel.

"Governor Shettima, who knows Junaidu well, has chosen to stand in the shadows and ignore the arrest of these innocent people in Maiduguri. Maybe he too feels intimidated by the SSS.

The later November statement also accused the SSS, EFCC, and presidency subverting the law to protect Sheriff by persecuting his associates.

"The Director-General of the SSS has chosen to ignore the total innocence of these young men. Rather, we now hear former Borno Governor Sheriff announcing on air that those who allegedly 'framed' him have been arrested and are undergoing interrogation. So now we see that the SSS is doing Sheriff’s bidding.

"The SSS has arrested people who have been supporting girls who have been kidnapped, raped and abused but managed to escape from Boko Haram camps and is interrogating these young men in order to intimidate the general population and ensure Sheriff is free to continue his sponsorship of Boko Haram.

"The SSS has not touched Sheriff. The EFCC has not touched Sheriff. The Cameroon Government arrested Sheriff in 2012 on matters related to Boko Haram but political muscle saw him released. The Nigerian public cannot be blamed for concluding Sheriff is above the law and more powerful than any agency of political office in Nigeria," Davis charged.

In the SSS' statement, dated Dec. 10, Marilyn Ogar, Deputy Director of Public Relations, DSS/SSS, responds to Davis and restates the service's committment to fighting the insurgency through careful investigation of those attempting to profit from the insurgency in the northeastern part of the country.

"It is necessary to state here that Davis and his cohorts are among several other local and international groups who are out to make merchandize of the Boko Haram insurgency through concocted and fabricated stories," she writes.

"These subversive campaigns are also aimed at permeating and shaping political discourse as well as challenge the integrity of our national security and stir discontent amongst Nigerians and our esteemed allies in the war against terror. CONTINUE READING

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