A chieftain of the of the opposition All Progressives Congress [APC], Nasir El-Rufai, is suing Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, over claims the former is a commander of the terrorist Boko Haram sect.
Mr. Ihejirika, a retired army General, had claimed in an interview with a newspaper that Mr. El-Rufai is a commander of the deadly Boko Haram sect which is murdering innocent Nigerians and overrunning communities in northeast Nigeria.
The former army chief’s allegation followed a Facebook post by Mr. El-Rufai quoting an Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis, who had named Mr. Ihejirika as a major sponsor of the sect.
The Australian negotiator claims he had related with the Boko Haram since 2006, and worked with past Nigerian presidents and recently with the President Goodluck Jonathan administration where he came close to freeing the over 200 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls in Borno.
In an interview with Arise TV in Uk, the negotiator said leaders of the sect briefed him that the former army chief, alongside a former governor of the Borno state, Ali Modu Sheriff, funded their operations.
Mr. El-Rufai posted excerpts of the interview on his Facebook page and subsequently attracted the wrath of the former army chief. In an interview published by the Vanguard newspaper, Mr. Ihejirika described Mr.El-Rufai as a commander of Boko Haram.
“People cannot make such outrageous allegations without evidence about others and be allowed to walk free,” Mr. El-Rufai said, in justification of the court case he plans to kickstart later in the week.
Grievous allegations, but government won’t react
Mr. Davis based his claims on intelligence he purportedly gathered from Boko Haram top commanders, and did not offer verifiable evidence.
Some Nigerian civil society activists have since called for a thorough investigations of the negotiator’s claims.
Despite the grievous allegations by the Australian negotiator, the Nigerian government has remained quiet on the matter.
The defence headquarters, where Mr. Ihejirika served untill his removal in January, declined to comment on the allegations.
When contacted, the Defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, referred PREMIUM TIMES to the “National Security Adviser, NSA, and political authorities.”
Both the NSA and the president’s office also declined to comment. Phone calls rang out unanswered.
Nigeria’s Information Minister, Labaran Maku, also did not respond to phone calls.
A high placed military source, however, told PREMIUM TIMES the military hierarchy is not in the mood to investigate the matter arguing that “In cases like this all the structures of government are involved.”