Ahmad Salkida, the journalist among the three persons recently declared wanted in connection with the Boko Haram group, is living closer to penury than affluence, contrary to widespread claims.
Salkida, who published the first article on the fundamentalist group and has some closeness to its members, has been variously accused of being a member and one of those who defrauded the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, collecting millions of dollars for selling the lie that they were negotiating with Boko Haram and the release of Chibok girls.
Sources close to Salkida told this medium that the journalist fled Nigeria to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2013, after selling his car and other belongings. He had to flee on account of threats to his life after revealing that the Federal Government’s claim that it had secured a ceasefire with Boko Haram was a ruse. He later had to move to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, where he lived for more than one month. The journalist disclosed sources, was stranded in Kigali and was bailed out by Egghead Odewale, an aide to Dr. Kayode Fayemi in his days as governor of Ekiti State, who bought him a flight ticket to meet his family, who were stranded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Salkida and his family later returned to Nigeria to live in a friend’s house, as he went under the radar pending the approval of his UAE work visa. His previous trip had been on a tourist visa. With the assistance of friends, family, and press freedom organizations, he moved to the UAE in August 2013, with his family joining him in the UAE a month later. Sources told SaharaReporters that he lived in Sharjah, one of the seven emirates. He sold groceries and assisted traders who do not want to fly to Dubai to buy goods. He was paid the equivalent of the price of their flight tickets. Dubai shop owners from whom he bought goods were paying him a percentage. He was also sending the commodities to traders in Nigeria.
But progress in that line of business came to a halt with the introduction of a new foreign exchange policy by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. Sources disclosed that Salkida does not live in Dubai and sometimes does not visit the glitzy emirate for three months.
Salkida lives in one of the Emirates, where the cost of living is considerably lower than in Dubai. He once worked for four months as a night guard but had to quit the job the remuneration was inadequate to take care of his family of five kids, four of whom had been in and out of school. Sources said he has had to rely on handouts from friends, asking why a man said to have been paid millions of dollars would be indigent.
A reason for which the Army declared Salkida wanted, many have speculated, is the belief that he was the one that provided SaharaReporters with the documents that exposed General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army, as the owner of two choice properties in Dubai. However, those who know Salkida well said he had nothing to do with the story. According to them, Salkida is acquainted with many journalists, including the publisher of SaharaReporters, but is hardly a person who mixes really well because he has a brittle temper, which tends keep people away from him.