Mama Boko Haram, Bolori surrender
Hours after they were declared wanted, Mrs Aisha Wakil aka Mama Boko Haram, and a lawyer, Ahmed Bolori, yesterday surrendered to the military.
Mama Boko Haram reported at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja; Bolori turned up at the Army Headquarters in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, at 10am.
The third person declared wanted with them, Ahmed Salkida, a journalist, said he was also ready to give himself up, but asked for a ticket from the military to facilitate his return home from his Dubai base.
Mama Boko Haram, also a lawyer, said she was not immediately taken in for interrogations when she arrived at the DHQ.
The front desk officers, she said, asked her what she wanted and she told them she was declared wanted yesterday (Sunday). But the officers said they were not aware of such and she asked them to read the newspapers online.
“They told me they will go and read and get back to me,” she said, adding that a few minutes later, a supervisor entered the reception to collect her passport and told her he would return 10 minutes later.
The spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman, confirmed that Mama Boko Haram has submitted herself.
“I have been reliably informed that she has reported at the Defence Headquarters and she has been directed to the Directorate of Military Intelligence,” Usman said.
Before giving herself up, Mama Boko Haram had said she was innocent of the allegation against her.
She said she had told the military what to do to secure the freedom of the Chibok girls but her advice was ignored.
In a statement posted on Facebook by Dr. Emman Shehu of the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja, she said: “I am Aisha Alkali Wakil. I understand that the military declared me, Ahmed Silkida and Ahmed Bolori wanted for having links with Boko Haram. It’s interesting, now they believe me?
“I know the Boko Haram boys. I have been in the front fighting for peace long before Chibok girls were kidnapped. Nigerian security knows me too well, I’m not shady. Why declare me wanted?
“I have had meetings with the Chief of Army Staff and his people. I told them the way forward, to allow me come with some commanders of Boko Haram and discuss with them, but they chose to do things their own way only and never gave considerations to any of my suggestions.
“I want to inform the Nigerian people of my innocence and make them realise that I am in constant touch with the security personnel and they know where to find me but I wonder why I had to be declared wanted on national news even mentioning my husband’s name alongside.
“This has put my immediate and extended family under a lot of pressure and I do not deserve this from the government.
“Though they may not appreciate all my efforts to proffer peaceful solutions to the menace of Boko Haram, my name should not be dragged to the mud nor my character defamed.”
Bolori said he was well-treated by the army, with a colonel offering him tea.
Reliving his encounter with the army since Sunday night, he said: “I have received several calls that the Nigerian Army has declared me and two others wanted. What kind of system is that where you will be declared wanted without being informed.
“I don’t know what crime I have committed. Whatever the case, I have contacted the army to provide a venue and they are yet to respond as expected.
“Sequel to my efforts to reach and report to them, the Nigerian Army asked me to return home and meet them by 10am on Monday (yesterday).
“This was after several unanswered calls and messages I have sent them. May God grant us peace.”
On arrival at the Army Headquarters, Bolori wrote: “I have signed the visitor’s register since and I am still waiting to be taken in although the army guard doesn’t have airtime to contact his supervisors.
“The army is now treating me very friendly and peacefully as a nice colonel just took me to his office to drink tea.”
Stating his readiness to return home to face the military, Salkida wrote on his Twitter handle, that he has stayed “within the creed of professional journalism,” in all his work and extensive coverage of Boko Haram insurgency since 2006.
”Clearly, my status as a Nigerian journalist who has reported extensively, painstakingly and consistently on the Boko Haram menace in the country since 2006 is an open book known to Nigerians and the international community. Equally, my total allegiance and sacrifice to Nigeria is self-evident. I have stayed within the creed of professional journalism in my work.
”As a testimony to the credible and professional values of my access, since May 2015, l have been to Nigeria three times on the invitation of Federal Government agencies. I made personal sacrifices for the release of our Chibok daughters.
”Finally, the army is aware that I am not in Nigeria at present. In the coming days, I will seek to get a flight to Abuja and avail myself to the army authorities. Indeed, my return will be hastened if the military sends me a ticket.”