President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticised for travelling to Chad with the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who was recently accused by Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis, of sponsoring Boko Haram sect.
Many Nigerians on social media Tuesday condemned Jonathan, who was in Ndjamena, capital of Chad on Monday to discuss with Chadian president, Idriss Deby on Boko Haram related issues, for allowing Sheriff, who was named a financier of the terrorist sect, to be among the team that followed him to Chad for the crisis talk.
Although Sherif has denied the allegations and threatened to sue Davis, many Nigerians wondered how the president could involve the former governor in the talk on how to end the activities of the terrorist sect when he has not been cleared of the alleged crime.
Commenting on a related post on Facebook, Adeniyi Farotimi said:
“Sheriff has really gone far with his new found home with the presidency. He even followed the president to Chad. Why would Sherif, alleged to be sponsoring Boko Haram, accompany him to Chad? For what? I believe members of Boko Haram are in our government. What happened to the Army Generals for having a link with Boko Haram. I weep for this country.”
Another social media user, Mohammed Mustapha, asked:
“Why did Sheriff accompany Jonathan to Chad? Did Sheriff go there as a representative of Borno State? What’s the motive behind this trip? Is Sheriff trying to make Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State irrelevant or what? I honestly don’t understand the entire hide and seek game over this national embarrassment. Sheriff should first clear his name and stop hiding under the PDP tattered umbrella.”
Also commenting on Facebook, a man who simply identified himself as Adonaid wondered what it would take Jonathan to act on the allegation made against Sheriff by the Australian negotiator.
“I cry for Nigeria, the country of my birth. I weep for this so-called Nigeria. Certified criminals are walking on the streets freely while innocent souls are dying in our prisons and police stations every day, all because they committed one minor offence or another.
They suffer endlessly because they are nobody and do not have anybody to defend them. But here are big thieves gallivanting all over the world in first-class jets. How can a man accused of sponsoring the Boko Haram sect fly on the same jet with an elected president who should be concerned about the insecurity in the country?”
Another social media user, Hamisu, responded:
“To those who don’t know, they are all birds of same feather. The worse is yet to come. Why Chad, not Niger? Are the Chibok girls held in Chad?”
Victor Vincent disagreed on the negative comments made against Sheriff on his Facebook account:
He posted: “When Sherrif was a member of All Progressives Congress, APC, how come nobody said anything negative about him? Why wasn’t he tagged Boko Haram sponsor then? Now that he had dumped APC, he’s now tagged Boko Haram sponsor? If you have an evidence against him, bring it out or stop accusing him of sponsoring terrorism.”
Yahaya Terab Kosso, who said he is a Chadian, on the defence of his country, commented:
“Chad is offering to help Nigeria rescue the abducted Chibok girls and overcome the rampaging Boko Haram. I don’t think Nigerians are being fair with their president over this issue. They have wrong impression about their president, that’s why they are condemning him.
Chadians are not like Nigerians who always say negative things about their leaders. We are not like Nigerians that are selfish, don’t love one another and always dealing with tribalism, religious crisis, etc. Did you ever hear these things happening in Chad. Chad is the heart of Africa! I am proud to be a Chadian.”
Sheriff was born into a rich family in Ngala Town, Ngala Local Government Area, Borno State in 1956. His father was a successful businessman Galadima Modu Sheriff. Sheriff studied in Business School of London, where his main subjects were Insurance, Banking and Finance.
He became a member of a Social Democratic Party in 1990. In 1997 he joined National Republican Convention. He became a senator representing Borno Central on the platform of the United Nigeria Congress Party, UNCP, during General Sani Abacha’s military regime. After democracy was restored in May 1999, he was again elected Senator, Borno Central, on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.
Sheriff was elected governor of Borno State in Nigeria in April 2003. He was the first governor in Borno State to win the seat two consecutive times. In 2012 Modu Sheriff was arrested upon entering Cameroon from Chad by neighbouring Cameroon’s security forces, allegedly for his link with Boko Haram. But after some time he was just escorted back to the border of the country. His connection with Boko Haram was not proved.