The All Progressives Congress (APC) has claimed that President Goodluck Jonathan knows more about Islamist sect Boko Haram than he is saying. The main opposition party said accused the president of exhibiting a shocking act of indiscretion by romancing with an alleged Boko Haram sponsor, Ali Modu Sheriff, who is not known to have been investigated and cleared of the weighty allegation against him.
In a statement issued in London on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party wondered what message President Jonathan was sending to his compatriots and indeed to the international community when he took Modu Sheriff along during his visit to Chad Monday to confer with President Idriss Deby on cooperation against terrorism.
“This action by President Jonathan confirms what the APC has always believed: That the President either knows more than he is willing to admit on the issue of those who are behind the Boko Haram insurgency or he is willing to sacrifice the battle against terrorism on the altar of political expediency. Either way, this action by the President is the height of indiscretion at best, or a palpable exhibition of callowness at worst.
“It also confirms our fears that Modu Sheriff was planted as a mole in the APC by his friends in high places, who are jittery about the birth of the party and would do anything to destabilize it,” it said.
APC said the President cannot pretend not to be aware of a report sent home by Nigeria’s Defence Adviser in Ndjamena, Chad, in 2011, detailing the suspicious activities of Modu Sheriff in Chad concerning alleged Boko Haram sponsorship and asking the Federal Government to investigate him.
The party said it therefore beggars belief that President Jonathan will choose to take the same personality along with him to the same Chad on a trip to canvas cooperation against Boko Haram terrorists.
“If this is a joke, it is one joke taken too far, especially at a time that Nigeria has been loosing territories after territories to Boko Haram; at a time that the same Modu Sheriff has been fingered by another source other than the Nigerian Defence Adviser in Chad, and at a time that calls are being made for an independent investigation into the allegation that Modu Sheriff and former Army Chief Azubuike Ihejirika are Boko Haram sponsors.
“Or could it be the case of it takes a thief to catch a thief?” it queried.
APC said it was apparent that President Jonathan smuggled Modu Sheriff into his entourage, as the official statement announcing the trip never mentioned that the former governor of Borno state would accompany the President on the trip, even while the list of those to accompany the President was included in the statement.
“Nobody in Nigeria would have known of this unholy alliance carried too far if not that the picture of the President, his host and Modu Sheriff surfaced via Twitter, where incredulous Nigerians were wondering what the President was doing with an alleged Boko Haram sponsor at a time the same terrorist group is waging a titanic battle against Nigeria.
“Therefore, the President owes Nigerians an explanation on why he took Modu Sheriff to Chad, what the President knows about the allegation hanging on the former Governor’s neck concerning Boko Haram sponsorship and why his administration has not handed him (Sheriff) and Ihejirika to the International Criminal Court for investigation and possible prosecution, since it is now obvious that the Administration is unwilling to probe them,” the party said.