by Kolapo Olapoju
On Monday, 8 September, President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Ndjamena, Chad for Boko-Haram related talks with Chadian president, Idriss Deby.
During the trip, the presidential media aide, Rueben Abati, tweeted photos from the meeting with the Chadian President, and surprisingly, also present at the talks was the former Governor of Borno state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who was recently named a Boko Haram sponsor by Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis.
Although Sheriff has tearfully denied the allegations and threatened to sue Davis, the Australian has countered, urging him to go ahead and take him to court. His presence at the meeting has raised speculations in many quarters, with some social media users tagging it ‘a meeting to strike a deal and end Boko Haram’.
Many social media users have wondered why an individual who is alleged to be a major sponsor of the Islamic terrorist sect, is going around with the President, especially on a trip which has ‘Boko Haram’ as its main topic of discussion, while others have asked why someone who has been recently labelled a financier of the sect, would accompany the President to discuss how to end the sect’s activities.
@abati1990 with modu sheriff, now I know better. Strike the deal and end BH once and for all.
— Edibo Jethro (@jettymoore) September 8, 2014
@abati1990 GEJ with mr Bokoharam Ali modu sheriff
— Mubaraq othman (@Mulak1_) September 8, 2014
@abati1990 Wondering the r/ship btw Ali Modu Sheriff and H.E Pres. GEJ’s Chad visit?
— Unclepaully (@ceecibanton) September 8, 2014
@abati1990 WTF..!!With sherrif.? in a same world, an accused would not not be seen with the president this is to show gej is also an accused
— Whales (@walex313) September 8, 2014
@abati1990 wonders shall never end who I’m i seeing GEJ and sheriff after being named as sponsor of boko haram
— kids&beyond (@mkrabiu) September 8, 2014
@abati1990 Hmm ONLY in NIGERIA will an alleged BH sponsor(SAS) accompany the President for a meeting against BH. It is sad.
— Ahmed Abulfathi (@aaabulfathi) September 8, 2014
According to a statement released by Abati prior to the Chad trip, he said its a continuation of the Federal Government’s efforts to forge a stronger alliance with Nigeria’s neighbours in the battle against the Boko Haram insurgents.
The talks are expected to lead to the strengthening of the Paris Accord on joint border patrols, intelligence sharing and the prevention of the illicit movement of terrorists, criminals, arms and ammunition across shared borders.
Abati stated, “The talks in Ndjamena with President Deby who is also the current Chairman of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council follow their discussions in Nairobi last week on the sidelines of the African Union Peace and Security Council Summit.”
“President Jonathan and his host will discuss the further actualization of agreements for greater cooperation against insurgents and terrorists reached by Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon at a meeting in Paris earlier this year,” he further stated.
Also in the President’s entourage were National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Nurudeen Mohammed; and the Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, Sheidu Mohammed.