Abusidiqu Analysis: Govt’s Half Truth About Australian Negotiator Stephen Davis and His Revelations
Eight days after the Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis believed to have been hired by the Federal Government to negotiate the safe return of the over 200 girls kidnapped from Chibok by the Boko Haram sect, the Federal Government formally declared today that it did not hire Dr. Davis or any negotiator to negotiate with Boko Haram
This is even as the party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under which platform the government of President Goodluck Jonathan came on board said few days ago that it acknowledged Dr. Davis’ statements and unsuccessfully tried to spin them against the “opposition.
Speaking through the Coordinator of the National Information Center, Mr Mike Omeri, yesterday, FG said the decision to hire a negotiator would be made public whenever they decide to do so and that they have no plans to question those alleged to be Boko Haram sponsors by Stephen Davis
“For now nobody has been hired by the government to negotiate on its behalf with Boko Haram. Anytime the government decides to do so, it will make it known to the public. The government is still investigating the allegations made by the alleged negotiator. However, the government has no plan to question anybody because of those allegations made by the Australian,” Omeiri stated.
Findings by Abusidiqu however revealed that the claim by the Federal Government is not only a bare faced lie, but an attempt to discredit the allegations of Dr. Davis, especially as his revelations is now indicting the government or at least people close to it.
Dr. Stephen Davies had in an interview on August 28 named Ali Modu Sheriff and Former Chief of Army Staff Ihejirika as Boko Haram “Kingpins, an allegation they both denied. But while the accusation and counter acussation continued, the government maintained a deafening silence until Friday when it eventually spoke.
The questions on the minds of Nigerians is why did it take the Federal government 8 good days to respond to such a grievous allegation that got everyone talking? What effort has the government made to verify the claims of Dr. Davis since the allegations were made? How did the Department of State Security Service who recent times have shown its partisanship come to the conclusion of probing Ali Mod Sheriff and exonerated General Ihejirika without investigation? While we continued to wait for the answers to this questions, we have decided to do an analysis to test whether the government was sincere in its claim that it did not hire Dr. Davis or any other person to negotiate with Boko Haram on its behalf.
FG Actually Said It Was Exploring the Option of Negotiation
After about three weeks of denial and silence over the abduction of more than 200 girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, the Federal government following mounting pressure from home and abroad began the process of rescuing the girls, even though nothing has been achieved till date.
Stating the efforts of the government to rescue the girls more than one month after they were kidnapped, Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, said government is exploring “all options” for the release of the girls. As at this time, news on the presence of the Australian negotiator who has already spent close to a month in the country had become a public pie. His presence even became pronounced when on June 1, he stated that the girls are very sick. This was after a UK based online paper, Mail Online published an exclusive report where Dr Davis stated that he is a Boko Haram negotiator hired by President Jonathan. The government did not deny the report of hiring Davis.
It is therefore believed that the statement by the FG that it is exploring all options include negotiation was premised on the fact that Davis was already in the country negotiating with Boko Haram on it behalf. But if it now claiming not to have hired any negotiator which to all intent and purpose is not the truth, then it only exposes the fact that the FG has not been doing anything at all to rescue the Chibok Girls as exposed by the leader of Chibok community back in June. If there have been no military action and no negotiation as the FG claimed, the what other option i there to explore?
Davis Has Been a Negotiator for the Nigerian Government
Dr. Davis Stephen is not knew to hostage negotiation in Nigeria. He has worked in Nigeria in the past with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Head of the Church of England, Justin Welby, to negotiate the release of kidnapped oil industry workers in the Niger Delta.
While he was in Nigeria back during the days of Niger Delta kidnapping, Dr. Davis said he was able to establish extensive contacts with tribes and terrorist groups in Africa, including three small cells of Al Qaeda, while working as a troubleshooter for oil and gas company Shell in the Niger Delta. That contact was what he banked on, hoping to secure the release of the girls.
Giving his past achievements, there is no gainsaying that the Federal Government would cash in on the experience of Davis to secure the release of the Chibok girls especially as the government was facing domestic and international condemnation over its handling of the issue?
Are they saying Dr. Davis appointed himself a negotiator to release Chibok girls for free? Did he travel all the way from Australia to Nigeria, foot his bills for the four months he stayed including, travels, hotels etc just because he loves Nigeria? Did he also go into Sambisa forest to negotiate with Boko Haram without some assurances and benefits from the government knowing he could be killed in the process. He must be a father Christmas to have done that.
How About Ahmed Salkida, Another Negotiator?
Ahmed Saldika, a Nigerian journalists who currently resides in the United Arab Emirate on exile is another person reported to have been hired as a negotiator with Boko Haram. He knows virtually everything about the Boko Haram sect as he narrated in his his piece, The Genesis of Boko Haram.
Because of his closeness to the top hierarchy of the Boko Haram sect during his days as a journalist in Nigeria, a profession that almost cost him his life, Salkida flew into Nigeria from Dubai on President Jonathan’s request. For fear that he might face arrest, he was issued a letter of indemnity signed by the president when he flew to Nigeria before he eventually waltzed into Sambisa, met with the commanders of Boko Haram and saw the Chibok girls!
He brokered a deal to free the girls in exchange for – according to him – a couple dozen non-combatant terrorist members and sympathizers. When Jonathan reneged on the deal, Saldika hopped the next flight back to the UAE. Word on the street is, Saldika is not afraid of Boko Haram, he is afraid of the Nigerian government security services who know that he knows – the connections of Boko Haram with the government, etc, etc, and it is from these Nigerian government members that he puts himself on self-exile.
Again, the Federal Government did not deny reports that it hired Salkida even though it was meant to be a secret within the government circle. It also did not deny cancelling the deal to free the abducted girls when it was widely reported. If it is now denying ever hiring a negotiator because latest revelations are revealing the culpability of government officials even after President Jonathan said himself that Boko Haram member are in his government, then we are far from getting to the end of this problem.