Former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi on Wednesday hinted that the Nigerian government knows those behind the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
He made the comment during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“They [government] know. Of course, it is in the news,” Commodore Olawunmi said.
“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-waited list is yet to be made public, a situation the ex-military officer says does not bode well for the government who he accused of shielding criminals.
“Try them, we know them. Why can’t this government, if not that they are partisan, bring those people out for trial?” he asked, corroborating calls from several quarters for the Federal Government to make good its promise.
He claimed that the government has developed cold feet in fighting the insurgency because some of those backing Boko Haram are now top-ranking government officials.
“I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government that the boys we arrested mentioned,” he said, referencing his time as a member of the military intelligence team in 2017.
“Some of them are governors now. Some of them are in the Senate. Some of them are in Aso Rock.”
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Olawunmi’s remark is the latest in the continued debates about how Nigeria can end the Boko Haram war which has led to thousands of deaths and displaced millions especially in the northeast and some neighbouring countries.
While the military says the ongoing 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 the ex-President Musa Yar’Adua to ex-Niger Delta militants, say it will bring peace to the troubled North-East.
But Olawunmi has faulted the move.
“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,” he argued, citing when he served a security and intelligence brief at the Defence Headquarters between 2016 and 2017.
According to him, fishing out the sponsors is a major way of ending the war.
“The centre of gravity of Boko Haram and insurgency in Nigeria are the sponsors of that programme,” the professor of Intelligence and Global Security Studies, added.