The Northern Interfaith and Religious Organisations for Peace, NIROP, has accused the Borno state government of sponsoring some members of civilian JTF, a vigilante outfit, to stage a protest in Abuja.
Making the claim on behalf of the group was its national coordinator, Musa Fomson, in a press conference in Abuja.
He alleged that the protests were geared towards attracting sympathy for Borno officials held in connection with insurgency.
“The Borno state government has been confirmed to be sponsoring some Civilian JTF members to come to Abuja to stage protests aimed at exonerating its officials for over half a decade long sponsorship of terrorism,” he said.
“The Civilian JTF members have been coached to counter the Nigerian Army. This plot could only have been contrived to divert attention from the ignoble roles Borno state and local government officials have played in keeping Boko Haram terrorism in place for these years.
“The account of some rescued Chibok girls that they were kept in the residence of state officials in Maiduguri and later Gwoza before they were moved to the bush after their capture is a testament to the culpability of some officials in the years of horror Nigerians have been forced to endure.
“These clandestine of the state government and its officials since the arrest of politically exposed persons in the state by the Nigerian Army therefore calls for a wider investigation and corresponding actions against those indicted.
“Nothing in the laws of the land empowers component governments to unleash terror on the scale of Boko Haram on the other federating units.”
Fomson expressed reservations over the reaction of Borno state government to the arrest of Shettima Lawan, chairman of Mafa local government council.
Leo Irabor, commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, had described Lawan as a “big supporter” of Boko Haram during a press conference where his arrest was confirmed.
But the government of Borno said the reports on the arrest of Lawan was a “very worrisome twist”.
Usman Ali Zanna, commissioner for local government and emirate affairs, said the chairman was known as someone, who for years, worked closely with hunters and military commanders against Boko Haram.
He urged the military to go after politicians who are sponsoring Boko Haram insurgents, saying that it appeared that while soldiers are diligently working to “round up escaping terrorists”, some politicians are covertly subverting their efforts.
He said that the action of the state government shows sabotage in the quest to end terrorism.
He said Nigerians must rise up and condemn any attempt that will encourage Boko Haram from regrouping.
“We appeal that Nigerians make vigilance their watchword, be their neighbors’ keepers and support the military to expose those that are political Boko Haram as we see this as being strategic to winning the battle and ensuring that the peace in the wake of the terror group’s defeat is not short lived,” he said.
“The Nigerian Army on its part has only one option, which is to go after the identified political Boko Haram members.
“In our view, no one deserves to go through the harrowing experiences that Nigerians, particularly the people of the northeast, had gone through in the hands of the terrorists and it is definitely not an experience that should be repeated by allowing the killers to regroup.
“This is what makes it sad that some people under certain organisations or political configuration are practically wishing and working for the terrorists to regroup.
“We urge Nigerians to collectively condemn these individuals and groups regardless of whether they pretend to be politicians, activists, journalists, NGOs, media or any other covers being used to promote the interest of the defeated terrorists.”