A former member of the Military Intelligence team, Navy Commodore Kunle Olawunmi (rtd), yesterday, hinted that the Federal Government knows those behind the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in the country. Olawunmi’s remarks are the latest in the continued debate about how Nigeria can end the Boko Haram war, which has led to thousands of deaths and displaced millions especially in the North-East and some neighbouring countries.
While the military says the on-going onslaught against the terrorists has yielded results and the criminals surrendering in droves, calls for granting amnesty to some of the “repentant” members of the sect have also divided opinions among stakeholders. Advocates, citing the amnesty programme of late President Musa Yar’Adua to ex-Niger Delta militants, say it will bring peace to the troubled North-East. Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’, Olawunmi, who is a Professor of Intelligence and Global Security Studies, said: “They (government) know them. Of course, it is in the news.
“In April this year, the government said they had arrested 400 Bureau De Change (BDCs)-related people that were sponsoring Boko Haram. They told us.” The Presidency had earlier said it would publish names of those behind the Boko Haram war with the development generating heated controversy across the country. But months down the line, the long awaited list is yet to be made public, a situation the exmilitary officer says does not go well for the government, whom he accused of shielding criminals.
Olawunmi, who once served a security and intelligence brief at the Defence Headquarters between 2016 and 2017, corroborated calls from several quarters for the Federal Government to make good its promise. He said: “Try them, we know them. Why can’t this government, if not that they are partisan, bring those people out for trial?” Olawunmi also claimed that the government had developed cold feet in fighting the insur-gency because some of those backing Boko Haram are now top-ranking government officials. He said: “I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government that the boys we arrested mentioned. Some of them are governors now. Some of them are in the Senate. Some of them are in Aso Rock.” Olawunmi stressed that fishing out the sponsors is a major way of ending the war.
He said: “The challenge we have in this country cannot be solved the same way we solved the problem of the Niger-Delta. I told them we can’t use the same strategy for Boko Haram. The centre of gravity of Boko Haram and insurgency in Nigeria are the sponsors of that programme.”