CALLS for the investigation and prosecution of the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), and former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, over their alleged complicity in the Boko Haram insurgency are growing stronger, with the Northern Elders Forum now joining the fray.
Secretary of the forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, told newsmen in Bauchi on Monday that President Goodluck Jonathan was keeping silent over the revelation by the Australian, Dr Stephen Davis, who claimed to have been engaged by the Federal Government.
However, “the Northern Elders Forum expects a full investigation and prosecution of these and many other persons supporting the Boko Haram insurgency at any stage in its life,” Abdullahi said.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has restated its call on President Goodluck Jonathan to invite the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute Sheriff and Ihejirika over their alleged role in the sponsorship of the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram.
This followed the threat by the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to brand the APC as “anti-Igbo” should it fail to apologise to the body within 48 hours over the party’s inference, by that call for Ihejirika’s prosecution, that the former COAS was culpable.
Maintaining its stand on Ihejirika’s alleged culpability, the APC’s statement yesterday from its South East Zonal Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, read in part: “Let’s ask, has Ohaneze Ndigbo Youths ever asked President Jonathan why our dear brother, Gen. Ihejirika, was sacked in controversial circumstances in January 2014? It is an issue for another day.”
The party said it owed no one any apology over its stand on the issue because the party is pan-Nigeria while its objective is the welfare and security of every Nigerian, adding that the party, “in league with other Nigerian patriots, was of the candid view that unraveling the masterminds, sponsors, allies and sympathizers of Boko Haram was a sure way to stamp out the insurgency.”
Meanwhile, the Maiduguri branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has disclaimed its chairman’s 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to prosecute Sheriff and Ihejirika over their alleged complicity in the insurgency in North-Eastern Nigeria.
The condemnation and disclaim were disclosed at a news conference in Maiduguri yesterday by Audu Hassan Mohammed and 60 other members, who contended that any valid press conference on any national issue must be sanctioned by the congress.
According to him, the issues addressed by the Alfa-led group at the news conference were “politically inclined,” with intent to drag the body into the political crisis afflicting the state and the entire country.
“As a matter of fact, our chairman ought not to have taken this decision without authenticating facts,” he continued. “As it now turns out, the said Dr Stephen Davis has been denounced by his alleged employer, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Director-General, National Orientation Agency, Mr. Mike Omeri, during a recent press conference.
He further advised the leadership of legal profession and the NBA to concentrate more on issues bordering on “rights abuses and other humanitarian crises” and to render pro-bono services to the under-privileged members of society rather than delve into the political arena to overheat the polity.