The Secretary to Borno State Government, Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda has accused former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff of putting the cart before the horse in order to politicize the allegations against him and find a scapegoat and an easy ‘escape route .
The SSG also advised Sheriff not to drag Governor Kashim Shettima’s regime into the unfolding controversy since the government has nothing to do with Australian Stephen Davis who accused Sheriff of being one of Boko Haram’s sponsors. “My advise to the former Governor is not to chase shadows but to focus on his court process and get the truth out with incontrovertible evidence to be determined by the court in his favor or in favor of Davis, it is as simple as that. The Borno State Government has nothing to do with Davis, unless if Sheriff had dealings with him or others when he was Governor, that we don’t know, but under Kashim Shettima, we have no controversies of such and he shouldn’t drag this innocent, transparent and hardworking administration into controversies, we have enough issues to worry about. Our concern is how to end the crisis and not to cause confusion” ,the SSG said.
Jidda spoke in reaction to allegations made by Sheriff at a media briefing in Maiduguri on Tuesday accusing the Borno State Government of being behind the allegations of sponsoring Boko Haram insurgents levelled against him by Australian Negotiator, Stephen Davis.
He recalled that “Just two weeks ago, Sheriff told the world at a media briefing in Abuja that he was taking Davis to court in London or so and in reaction, the Nigerian media reported Davis saying he was ready to provide evidence in court in Australia or so when Sheriff takes him top court. This is one part. On another part, the Department of State Security said it was probing Sheriff over the allegations and Mr President, Goodluck Jonathan said last weekend through his spokesperson, Dr Reuben Abati that the security agencies were probing the allegations against Sheriff and findings will be made public, the question now is, why is Sheriff putting the cart before the horse? Why can’t he pursue his case in court, defend whatever evidence brought by Davis and clear his name and also, why wouldn’t he await the findings of the Nigerian security agencies that said they are probing him as confirmed by the President? Since he said he is innocent, all he needs do is to wait for the outcome of his court case and security probe, simple.
“For the record, let me say that it is a big embarrassment for the State Government, the Governor, Kashim Shettima, myself or any Borno man or woman for that matter that a Borno man is being associated with that grievous allegation because it stains our name as a State and as a people. Borno people are the worst affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, to say a Borno man is partly responsible is a big embarrassment that we all do not celebrate because of the stigma it inflicts on us. Therefore, by rushing to a press conference in Maiduguri today to accuse Borno State Government baselessly, is to my mind, a desperate attempt on the part of the former Governor to look for a scapegoat and look for an easy escape route as against following the channels of court process he pronounced as well as the security probe being carried out.
“ For the purpose of history, let everyone be reminded that the first publicly made accusation of complicity over the Boko Haram levied against Sheriff emanated from his party, the PDP, whose ten man delegation visited media houses in Abuja on 22nd of November, 2011 and accused him of being responsible for Boko Haram attacks. Davis was next to the PDP in Borno. Sheriff had the option of taking the PDP to court in 2011 over that allegation but he didn’t and today, those who accused him share the same party with him.
“Sheriff’s claim that the airing of the story about the allegations by Davis on the Borno Radio and Television was a pointer to his accusations against the Government of being responsible for Davis claims, shows little or no understanding of the workings of the media. As a former General Manager of BRTV with knowledge on the workings of the news room, I know that part of the elements of News is proximity of what happens to audience or rather, the importance of the issue to the audience and how the issue affects them from the human interest perspective. By all means of all the elements of news, if there is one group of Nigerians who are directly affected by the Boko Haram issue, it is we the people of Borno State and this makes news about Boko Haram of so much interest to the people hence the reason every media house that understands news values, makes Borno a key audience. News is about what concerns the reader, viewer or listener. Boko Haram concerns Borno people , why shouldn’t BRTV inform Borno people about such development more so that media houses in far away Lagos deemed it news worthy? he asked.