The pan-northern socio-political organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum, on Thursday, advised government not to sweep recent allegations by a former Central Bank of Nigeria Deputy Governor, Dr. Obadia Mailafia, under the carpet.
The National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the allegation by Mailafia that a northern governor was a Boko Haram leader was weighty and should be “screened.”
The former CBN deputy governor, in an interview with a radio station, Nigeria Info 99.3 FM, had said some repentant terrorists revealed to him that a serving northern governor was a Boko Haram commander.
He said, “Some of us also have our intelligence networks. I have met with some of the bandits. We have met with some of their high commanders, one or two who have repented. They have sat down with us not once, not twice.
“They told us that one of the northern governors was the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same.”
Mailafia was on Wednesday quizzed for several hours by the Department of State Services in Jos. After leaving the DSS office, the ex-deputy governor of the CBN said he would not retract the statement he made.
In the interview with The PUNCH, the ACF spokesman, Yawe, said the allegations coming from a former CBN deputy governor were weighty and should be “screened.”
According to him, Nigeria cannot afford to sweep such allegations under the carpet. He hailed the DSS for inviting Mailafia.
The ACF spokesman said, “Given his status as former deputy governor (of the CBN) and the weight of the allegations he raised, the DSS did the correct thing in inviting Obadia Mailafia.
“He owes it to the country to shed more light on these allegations. We cannot afford to sweep such allegations under the carpet.
“Boko Haram has killed many people, destroyed the lives of many Nigerians, foreigners and Nigeria’s image in the comity of nations. The allegation that a governor who swore by the constitution and the holy book to defend the lives and property of the citizenry is behind such a satanic group is repugnant and must be properly screened.
“Additionally, we fought a costly civil war in terms of human lives and materials between 1967 and 1970. If there is any information that a group is planning a civil war, we should do all we can to verify such information and abort the plan. We cannot afford a second civil war.”
Name gov leading B’Haram, northern coalition advises Mailafia
On its part, the Coalition of Northern Groups, challenged Mailafia to go ahead and name the northern governor who was the commander of Boko Haram.
According to the CNGs, the fact that Mailafia is sticking to his guns even after his arrest called government to question.
He stated, “For instance, he should disclose the name of the northern governor and the extent of involvement of government as he claimed.”
Spokesperson for the CNGs, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, stated these in an interview with one of our correspondents in Kaduna on Thursday.
The CNGs said, “We look at the Mailafia saga from two perspectives. One is the direct accusation of the involvement of government and in particular, a serving northern governor with the unceasing insecurity and other disturbances in the region. The fact that Mailafia is sticking to his guns even after the arrest has certainly called government to question.
“The man has made a serious commitment by claiming that he has reliable intelligence of the existence of such dangerous plot. The authorities should get him to prove his claims, perhaps he can even assist the government.”
Middle Belt youths laud Mailafia for insisting on allegations
But the Middle Belt Youth Council condemned the DSS for inviting Mailafia.
The National President of the Middle Belt Youth Council, Emma Zopmal, who spoke to one of our correspondents in Jos on Thursday, said the Middle Belt people were happy that Mailafia did not retract his statement.
He stated, “We in Middle Belt are happy that the former CBN deputy governor did not retract his statement despite the invitation meant to intimidate him by the DSS because what he said was nothing but the truth. And we are not surprised by his statement at all”
On his part, a member of the eighth National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, warned the Federal Government and state governors against harassing the former CBN deputy governor.
Sani gave the warning in an interview with journalists on Thursday after receiving the ‘Africa’s Legend of Human Rights,’ award from the Human Rights Writers Association in Abuja.
He stated that government should not make Mailafia a scapegoat after failing to stop Boko Haram insurgency and violence in the northern part of Nigeria.
At the event, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, stressed that the government had no right to harass Mailafia.
He urged the media to stand in solidarity with Nigeria Info 99.3FM and protest the N5m slammed on the radio station by the National Broadcasting Commission for airing the programme for which Mailafia was invited.
Sani said, “This is a democracy, people in the position of power must learn to respect the fundamental rights of citizens as guaranteed by the constitution of this country.
“We shouldn’t use Mailafia as a scapegoat or an excuse. Mailafia is not responsible for the insurgency and the violence, he is only expressing his opinion and that should be respected.”
Don’t make hero out of Mailafia, Borno Concerned Elders dean advises govt
But the Dean of Borno Concerned Elders, Prof Khalifa Dikwa, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the DSS could decipher Mailafia’s statement as that of a politician preparing for the 2023 presidency.
Dikwa stated, “His (Mailafia) outburst may have been made after he was shown some deceitful theatrics by a political interest or foreign troublemaking intelligence which chose a dramatis personae to act like real repentant Boko Haram, planning to invade a region for a false propaganda to take over the media space as if it is real.
“We are dealing with some bad political actors who are readily willing to heat the polity with ethno-religious sentiments, rather than wait for 2023 elections because they cannot galvanise votes in a democracy where numbers matter.
He advised government not to make a hero out of Mailafia. Dikwa recalled that a former President while in office once alleged that there were Boko Haram members in his cabinet.