My services are still available – Boko Haram negotiator


Northern-born journalist widely reported to have strong ties with the Boko Haram sect, Ahmad Salkida, has said that he is still readily available to render his services to bring an end to the insurgency in the country.

Salkida was said to be close to the late Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf, as well as many top shots of the group.

He had since fled to the United Arab Emirates on account of an alleged threat to his life over what he described as his “professional closeness” to the insurgents.

“My first-rate exclusive reports on the insurgency in northern Nigeria served by the Boko Haram militant group unsettled a section of the local authorities. This consequently led to threats to my life. I now live with my family and work part-time in the United Arab Emirates,” a post on his LinkedIn page read.

But, writing on Twitter, Salkida stated that despite being “gagged for doing his work dutifully and lawfully,” he is still willing to make use of his “rare” working relationship with members of the sect to restore peace to northern Nigeria.

According to him, terrorism as seen today in the country is a tactic used by “a few extremists” against an overwhelmingly peaceful population.

“There is nothing wrong in having professional access to insurgents as long as it is used to save lives and promote peaceful co-existence. I will forever be readily available to use my rare professional access and knowledge to end this madness and senseless violence in Nigeria.

“Speculations should not becloud the fact that there are many well-meaning patriots, including myself, that are working quietly day and night for peace. Nigeria is our country. We have no other country to call our own. So let’s get it right. I love Nigeria, I cherish its unity. I will do anything legitimately to make it better than it is, if I can,” he wrote on his Twitter feed.

The 40-year-old who grew up in Maiduguri, Borno State added that the most effective way the Federal Government can fight terrorism was to “study those behind it and review what strategy works and what doesn’t work.”

He also urged Nigerians to unite against the Boko Haram insurgency by not seeing it as a menace ravaging the northern Nigeria but a threat to the entire country.

Calling on Nigerians to render “unconditional support” to the military, he counselled the armed forces to endeavour to be “more accountable” in the ongoing war against the insurgents.

Salkida frowned on summary killing of Boko Haram detainees, saying the development amounted to extrajudicial executions opposed by international laws.

“Is there a good understanding of the structure, composition and lifeline of the Boko Haram by our leaders? Has there been a counter-terrorism strategy in Nigeria that has worked in the last three years beyond summary execution and detention without trial?

“Will the Boko Haram crisis end? It may never be totally eliminated, but a cohesive community that trusts its authorities can curb it. The day we begin to see this war as a threat to Nigeria and not a threat to the Beroms, Christians or Muslims, that is the beginning of our victory,” he added.

Confronting terrorism, he argued, would be futile if the Federal Government does not move to confront “lesser evils” which he reeled out as corruption, electoral fraud and bad governance.

The journalist, who has won grants from organisations such as the Committee to Protect Journalist and Reporters without Borders, carpeted President Goodluck Jonathan for blaming the opposition for terrorism.

“I’m frustrated each time my dear President blames the opposition and the opposition blames him. You all need to sit down in the interest of Nigeria and learn. How can this crisis stop when security and political leaders, with the onus of responsibility for public safety, politicise insurgency?

“This is a case of corrosive doctrine that is poorly managed by the authorities. If effective measures are not taken today, at the end of GEJ’s administration – whether it is General Muhammodu Buhari, (Babatunde) Fashola or Atiku (Abubakar) that is taking over – the crisis will intensify. It’s not who is in power.The central theme of the Boko Haram insurgency is to undermine the institution of democracy and those that support it,” he added in a series of tweets.

culled: Punchng


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