“This question is presumptuous and therefore needs to be rephrased to read ‘Did Ali Modu Sheriff form Boko Haram’? I asked Sen. Modu Sheriff this question point blank at the heat of his campaign to be the National Chairman of the PDP when I had a one-on-one meeting with him in May last year. I said to him unless he cleared this question with me l would not be able to support him lead the party to which l belong. His answer to me was that he didn’t. To buttress his position he left me and went somewhere in his house and shortly returned with three documents and handed them over to me. One was a “Report of the Post Morten Committee on the Sectarian Crises in Kano, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno States” constituted by the then National Security Adviser as directed by the Nigerian President. The report was dated 27th August, 2009. The other document was the Report of the Implementation Committee of the Government White Paper on the Boko Haram Insurgency in Borno State dated 9th November, 2009. The third one was titled “The 2009 Sectarian Crisis in Borno State written by Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff himself in September 2011.
“I have very carefully read through all the three documents and, discountenancing the third document, being written by Sheriff himself, the facts contained in the other two documents and the personalities involved, have overtly shown that Sheriff did not create the Boko Haram as is currently composited. In fact, from the committee’s report and the White Paper, Sen. Sheriff was commended for the steps his government took to stem Islamic insurgency in the state. Instructively, as pointedly stated by him, Boko Haram never occupied an inch of territory in Borno State while Sheriff held sway as governor. It reared its ugly head after he left office. Also, from the three documents referred, he established a militia group called ECOMOC, along with other policies such as Ministry of Religious Affairs with a Commissioner and Adviser of Islamic Affairs; but these were meant to help stem the threatening Islamic militancy rather than create it.
“These policies, I assume, are in recognition of the fact that the West African subcontinent, from Fula Jalon in Senegal to Bagarmi in Borno, has been known for centuries as a belt of Islamic conflict. Let us be reminded that the first major threat to Emperor Sundiata in the formation of Mali empire in the early 13th century came from Muslim clerics, and both him and his successor, Mansa Musa, had to take drastic, in fact brutal, actions against the ulamas before they were able to consolidate their authorities and build the Mali empire into a formidable state that it became. From then till today, the central destabilizing factor for the governments of West African states had been Islamic militancy. Songhai, Kanem Borno, Tukolor empires, the Hausa States, the Colonial Governments, the Independent African States have all contended with this issue. The point being made here is that it is not out of place, therefore, given the historical background of the region, for a regime to come up with such administrative policies as the Sen. Sheriff regime came up with in Borno state to contain or forestall such Islamic insurgency. How such policies may afterward result in the upsurge of insurgency under another regime will be dependent on how the succeeding regimes comprehend the situation and apply the policies. How the succeeding regime to Sheriff’s handled these policies that resulted in the coming into being of the Boko Haram as we know it today is what l cannot say”.