Jonathan’s Govt Withdrew $40m To ‘Negotiate’ Chibok Girls Release, Whereabout Of Cash Unknown – Report
The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is in a fresh mess.
The office, already enmeshed in the $15billion arms deal, is being fingered in the alleged disappearance of $40million(N13.6billion) approved by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan ostensibly for the negotiation of freedom for the Chibok girls.
Part of the supposed deal was for Boko Haram to concede to a demand for ceasefire,The Nation gathered on good authority yesterday.
The under-the-table negotiation was however botched because the Boko Haram leadership was not interested in the deal.
The whereabouts of the cash is now unknown, prompting a probe by the Federal Government.
One report suggested that the money was handed over to the president of a neighbouring country, while another said it was in the ‘custody’ of a former presidential aide.
The cash was allegedly drawn from the ONSA by the former top presidential aide.
A source familiar with the development said:”The government is probing how about $40million was allegedly spent by the administration of ex-President Jonathan to ‘negotiate’ with Boko Haram. The cash was allegedly withdrawn from the ONSA account by a former presidential aide.
“The said aide alleged that the cash was routed through the Presidents of a neighbouring country, but preliminary tracking showed that the money might have been diverted.
“Many people have been linked with the negotiation, but the government, through relevant anti-graft agencies, is trying to ascertain the whereabouts of the funds. We have started inviting those connected with the deal for interaction.
“Even the ex-President in January 2016 said in an interview with a news website, Quartz, in Geneva, Switzerland that his administration did not set up any negotiation team.
“I did not negotiate with Boko Haram. The government never set up a team,” Quartz quoted him as saying.
The Boko Haram leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau, responding in one of his video messages to claims of negotiation with government, had said: “We have not made ceasefire with anyone. We did not negotiate with anyone. It’s a lie. It’s a lie. We will not negotiate. What is our business with negotiation? Allah said we should not.”
Conitnuing the source said:”So, there could not have been any sum spent on negotiation with Boko Haram, if there was no deal with the sect. You can see that the ongoing investigation of $15billion arms deal in the ONSA has many dimensions.
“The main objective of the government is to recover the $40million.”
Meanwhile, the BringBackOurGirls group yesterday confirmed that Serah Luka, who was rescued on Thursday by the Nigerian military, was an SSS 1 student of Government Secondary School, Chibok.
It however said the girl was abducted by Boko Haram in Madagali in Adamawa State and not in Chibok.
The group, which made the clarification in a statement by Sesugh Akume, laid to rest the controversy over the identity of the girl.
The statement said: “We are excited with the news of yet another rescued Chibok girl.
“According to Haruna Mutali, a community leader in Chibok, their background checks have revealed that this second returnee, Miss Serah Luka, was an SSS 1 learner at GSS Chibok, who was abducted by the insurgents in her home in Madagali.
“Every citizen returned is victory for us all.
“We appeal to the humanity in us to stay positively focused on emerging developments. We wish to advise caution in disseminating information too promptly, as we appeal that we respect the human dignity of our returnees and their loved ones, as we engage on this topic.
“We commend the gallant Nigerian Army, the Civilian JTF, and the other security forces. We are strongly with you, as through great sacrifice you annihilate the insurgents, return our compatriots, reclaim our territories and restore peace and normality, especially in northeast Nigeria.”
A top military source said: “We conducted security checks on the girl before we released information to the public.
“As part of her profiling, we got in touch with a teacher in GSS, Chibok who confirmed that she was a student of the school before her abduction.
“Also, some of her relatives admitted that she was schooling in Chibok and the girl confessed that she was one of the Chibok girls.
“The Army is not deceiving Nigerians as being insinuated. This kind of attitude from some Nigerians can demoralize the troops.”