According to recently released information from Nigeria's State Security Service (SSS), a number of associates of Australian hostage negotiator Stephen Davis are frauds, part of an alleged political plot engendered to "undermine and discredit" the anti-terrorism efforts of the Nigerian federal government.
Discrediting the Australian negotiator in a press release today, the service alleges that they have arrested seven affiliates of Davis: Junaid Idriss Khadi, Abubakar Yusuf (alias Baba Sani), Saleh Alhaji Ibrahim (alias Liman Ibrahim), Abudullahi Saleh (alias Babadale), Nurudeen Ibrahim, Mubarak Adamu (alias Molo), and Mustapha Maidugu (aka Musty/Small).
The SSS claims that following Davis' August allegations, which indicted former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika, and former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff as sponsors of the Boko Haram sect, an investigation was launched to determine the culpability of the two figures in the insurgency.
The service now claims that Davis was prompted to indict Ihejirka and others based on allegations that the military under Ihejirika stood in the way of Davis in his attempts to reach the Nigerian presidency regarding the kidnapping of 276 girls in Chibok, Borno State, earlier this year. The SSS also claims that Davis and others fraudulently conspired to blackmail and implicate Sheriff and Mala Othman, former State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.
The group arrested today is composed of students, traders, and radio journalists, many of whom were reportedly connected with Boko Haram activities at particular points. They are said to have made between N62,000 and N4 million for their roles in the scheme.
Though the SSS claims to have received confessions from the seven suspects, no other concrete evidence, including implicating documents and text messages the service maintains Davis sent to these associates, were presented to further discredit Davis' operation in Nigeria.
In a statement published in September, Davis maintains that his role in negotiations with Boko Haram was genuine and that he conducted his actions without being bribed or bribing others. "I never paid anyone and no one paid me either by way of funds or favours," Davis said.
A November statement from the negotiator (here sourced from The Cable newspaper), further stated that the SSS was targeting Davis and his associates, including Junaidu Idris, who was among the seven arrested by the SSS.
"I have known Junaidu Idris, a resident of Maiduguri, for many years," Davis said.
"When we needed a respected and trustworthy Kanuri speaker to assist in the June 2011 peace discussions with Baa Fugu’s family we asked Junaidu and he graciously accepted at some risk to himself. Governor Shettima had then recently been elected and joined the dialogue. Junaidu was not paid for his services and saw it as his duty as a citizen of Nigeria.
"In May this year when we again needed a Kanuri speaker to travel with us to assist in the handover of a large group of girls in Borno State Junaidu agreed to travel with the government’s medical team. Again he did not seek any funds. The SSS has arrested Junaidu for providing such support to efforts to return kidnapped girls to their families. He too has been held without charge and without access to legal counsel.
"Governor Shettima, who knows Junaidu well, has chosen to stand in the shadows and ignore the arrest of these innocent people in Maiduguri. Maybe he too feels intimidated by the SSS.
The later November statement also accused the SSS, EFCC, and presidency subverting the law to protect Sheriff by persecuting his associates.
"The Director-General of the SSS has chosen to ignore the total innocence of these young men. Rather, we now hear former Borno Governor Sheriff announcing on air that those who allegedly 'framed' him have been arrested and are undergoing interrogation. So now we see that the SSS is doing Sheriff’s bidding.
"The SSS has arrested people who have been supporting girls who have been kidnapped, raped and abused but managed to escape from Boko Haram camps and is interrogating these young men in order to intimidate the general population and ensure Sheriff is free to continue his sponsorship of Boko Haram.
"The SSS has not touched Sheriff. The EFCC has not touched Sheriff. The Cameroon Government arrested Sheriff in 2012 on matters related to Boko Haram but political muscle saw him released. The Nigerian public cannot be blamed for concluding Sheriff is above the law and more powerful than any agency of political office in Nigeria," Davis charged.
In the SSS' statement, dated Dec. 10, Marilyn Ogar, Deputy Director of Public Relations, DSS/SSS, responds to Davis and restates the service's committment to fighting the insurgency through careful investigation of those attempting to profit from the insurgency in the northeastern part of the country.
"It is necessary to state here that Davis and his cohorts are among several other local and international groups who are out to make merchandize of the Boko Haram insurgency through concocted and fabricated stories," she writes.
"These subversive campaigns are also aimed at permeating and shaping political discourse as well as challenge the integrity of our national security and stir discontent amongst Nigerians and our esteemed allies in the war against terror.
"This service is committed to bringing to justice all who sponsor or partake in the publication of subversive reports against this country. We shall not rest on our oars until our country is rid of all unwholesome activities.
Read the full statement, reproduced as received, below.
Recall that on 29th August 2014, one Steven DAVIS, an Australian Self-styled negotiator for the Boko Haram sect had alleged that Ali Modu SHERIFF (Sen) and Azubuike IHEJIRIKA (Lt.Gen/rtd), former Governor of Borno State and former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) respectively were among chief sponsors of the Boko Haram sect. DAVIS premised his ‘findings’ on discussions with several field commanders of the Sect who allegedly expressed willingness of the sect to negotiate with the Federal Government if DAVIS would spearhead such dialogue. To buttress this, he posted a photograph of himself taken in 2013 with some alleged Sect Members.
2. Based on the allegation, this Service initiated an in-depth investigation into the matter. Consequently, seven (7) associates of DAVIS were arrested and it has been established that they were part of a well orchestrated plan to spread falsehood, undermine and discredit efforts of government to end terrorism.
Those arrested are:
i.Junaid Idrissa KHADI;
ii.Abubakar YUSUF (a.k.a Baba Sani);
iii.Saleh Alhaji IBRAHIM (a.k.a Liman IBRAHIM);
iv.Abdullahi SALEH (a.k.a Babadale);
vi.Mubarak ADAMU (a.k.a. Molo); and
vii.Mustapha MAIDUGU ( a.k.a. Musty/Small)
JUNAID IDRISSA KHADI
3. KHADI is a 45 year old Kanuri man from Borno State. He was an aide to Borno State Governor, Kasim SHETTIMA. He confessed to the following;
that he has known DAVIS since 2006;
that he introduced one Aisha WAKIL (Barr/F) to DAVIS as a credible link to top members of the Boko Haram sect;
That he and one General ASHAFA went with DAVIS on a journey to a remote part of Marte LGA, Borno State, on a false mission to rescue the abducted Chibok school girls.
That he deliberately conspired to blackmail and implicate Ali Modu SHERIFF (Sen), former Governor of Borno State and one Mala OTHMAN, former State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as sponsors of the Boko Haram sect. This he said he did by mounting pressure on the fake Boko Haram Commanders, particularly Abubakar YUSUF (a.k.a Baba Sani) to affirm that SHERIFF was indeed a sponsor. A claim that would give weight to their own scam and compel the Federal Government to negotiate with the fraudulent group. However, when the attempt failed, he sold the idea directly to DAVIS;
That DAVIS single handedly conjured the indictment on IHEJIRIKA based on allegations that the Military under the former COAS was responsible for the several failed attempts by DAVIS to make contact with the Presidency;
He denied ever discussing with DAVIS that IHEJIRIKA (Lt. Gen/Rtd) was a Boko Haram sponsor. He stressed that at no time during their interactions were such allegations made against IHEJIRIKA (Lt.Gen/Rtd) and wondered why this should arise.
That he organized several meetings between the purported Boko Haram Commanders and DAVIS in Abuja and was privy to a YouTube video, an interview on Voice of America (VOA) and he (KHADI) also used DAVIS’ Camera to capture snapshots of DAVIS in a group photograph with some fake commanders of the sect;
ABUBAKAR YUSUF (a.k.a Baba Sani)
4. YUSUF is 30 years old, from the Babur tribe in Biu LGA, Borno State. Until his arrest, he was a petty trader at Makama New Extension, Bauchi State. YUSUF was actively involved in the Boko Haram insurrection of 2009 as an armed foot soldier as well as a paramedic for the sect. He escaped from Maiduguri to Askira-Uba in Borno State and thereafter relocated to Bauchi metropolis, where he was eventually arrested. The following has been established against YUSUF:
i.YUSUF was amongst those presented by Aisha WAKIL (Barr/F) to Borno State Governor between 2011 and 2012 as representatives who would negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis;
ii.In February, 2013, YUSUF was introduced to DAVIS by Aisha WAKIL as a top-ranking Boko Haram member, who could facilitate DAVIS’ contact with the sect’s leadership even though she knew he was incapable;
iii.YUSUF co-opted and presented Saleh Alhaji IBRAHIM, Abdullahi SALEH, Nurudeen IBRAHIM and Mubarak ADAMU to DAVIS as the sect’s Amirul Jeish (Grand Commanders). He also introduced one Yakubu KAUMI (Late Abu ZAMIRA) as a spokesperson for the sect;
iv.YUSUF and some of the suspects mentioned above were part of the YouTube video, VOA interview and also appeared in the group photograph with DAVIS;
v.YUSUF confessed to have made about four million Naira (N4m) from fake Boko Haram negotiations.
SALEH IBRAHIM (a.k.a. Liman IBRAHIM)
6. IBRAHIM is a 35 year old indigene of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC), Borno State. Until his arrest, he was a casual staff of Borno Radio Television (BRTV). He confessed to have joined the Boko Haram sect in 2003 and remained an ardent follower of late Mohammed YUSUF until 2005 when he quit the sect to join BRTV. While in the sect, he was a member of the Taskforce Committee on Vehicle Parking at Markaz, the sect’s enclave in Maiduguri.
7. He confessed to the following:
i.That in 2013 he participated in a Government sponsored dialogue with the Boko Haram sect, and he was presented to the Amb. Hassan TUKUR and Tanimu TURAKI-led Committees as a top member of the sect’s Shura Council, a claim which was false;
ii.That he and a few other persons granted an interview to the VOA and spoke extensively on the bogus Boko Haram ceasefire with the Federal Government;
iii. That KHADI paid him three hundred thousand Naira (N300,000) for his role in the mischievous media campaign;
ABDULLAHI SALEH (a.k.a. Abu Adam Maisandari)
7. SALEH who claims to be between 28 and 30 years old is a Fulani indigene of Yola South LGA, Adamawa State. He also claims to be a 100 level student of Accounting at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi State. He confessed to the following:
In August 2013, YUSUF introduced him with the alias Abu Adam Maisandari to DAVIS, WAKIL, KHADI, and the Tanimu TURAKI-led Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North-East;
He participated in the group’s meetings with the TURAKI-led committee and was among the purported sect commanders who were interviewed by the VOA;
He confessed to have made a total of one hundred and fifty thousand Naira (N150,000) from fake dealings with DAVIS and the TURAKI and TUKUR-led committees.
8. IBRAHIM is 22 years old from Pali village, Alkaleri LGA in Bauchi State. He was introduced to YUSUF by his friend, Mubarak ADAMU. Upon his recruitment into the purported Boko Haram commanders’ group, he was introduced to DAVIS as well as the TURAKI-led committee as a representative of Abu ZAMIRA. He confessed to the following:
That he participated in various meetings with the TURAKI-led committee, the VOA interview, featured in the YouTube video and was one of the hooded gang members in the group photograph with DAVIS;
That his financial gains from the fake project with DAVIS and YUSUF’s groups amounted to about sixty-two thousand naira (N62,000).
MUBARAK ADAMU (a.k.a. Molo)
9. ADAMU is a 20 year old indigene of Darazo LGA, Bauchi State. He first came in contact with YUSUF in 2010 and was also subsequently introduced to DAVIS and the TURAKI-led Committee. He confessed that:
He participated in the YouTube video, and was one of the hooded persons in a group photograph with DAVIS. According to him, he made a total of fifty-five thousand (N55, 000) from his participation in the scam.
MUSTAPHA MAIDUGU (a.k.a. Musty/Small)
10. MAIDUGU is a 35 year old Kanuri man from Yusufari LGA, Yobe State. Until his arrest, he resided at Shehuri North in Maiduguri, Borno State. MAIDUGU was a Technical Officer with the Estate Department of Yusufari LGA, Yobe State as well as the Secretary of Shehuri North Community Development and Youth Empowerment Association (SNCDYEA).
11. He confessed to the following:
i.That he was linked to DAVIS by Saleh IBRAHIM through phone;
ii.That DAVIS facilitated his getting an ad-hoc job with UNICEF, which bordered on providing psychological support to victims of the Boko Haram insurgency;
iii.That DAVIS tasked him with secretly recording the ordeal of female victims who allegedly escaped Boko Haram captivity. His fabrications were published by DAVIS under the widely circulated news headline, “160 Days after Chibok Abduction: Girls tell how they were raped every day – Negotiator Steven DAVIS”;
iv.That he sent a copy of the Gaji GALTIMARI (Amb.) led Presidential Fact-Finding Committee Report to DAVIS, to which he received a reply via text message from DAVIS that read, “It is getting hotter for Sheriff now”;
v.In all, MAIDUGU received the sum of two hundred and seventy two thousand Naira (N272, 000) and a laptop for working for DAVIS.
11. It is necessary to state here that DAVIS and his cohorts are among several other local and international groups who are out to make merchandize of the Boko Haram insurgency through concocted and fabricated stories. These subversive campaigns are also aimed at permeating and shaping political discourse as well as challenge the integrity of our National security and stir discontent amongst Nigerians and our esteemed allies in the war against terror.
12. We want to reiterate once more, that this Service is committed to bringing to justice all who sponsor or partake in the publication of subversive reports against this country. We shall not rest on our oars until our country is rid of all unwholesome activities.
13. Thank you and God bless. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Marilyn OGAR, msi
Deputy Director, Public Relations
Department of State Services, Abuja
10th December, 2014