Former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, says Boko Haram, whom he is accused of sponsoring, is actually out to kill him.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the former senator, who recently left the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he has no links to the terror group.
Sheriff said: “My name has been mentioned for political reasons over the attacks of Boko Haram. I have been accused unfairly in connection with Boko Haram since I left office.
“The recent purported interview granted by Australian negotiator, Stephen Davies, could not avail the federal government of the information concerning the alleged sponsors of Boko Haram… but [he] sneaked out of the country to make false claims.
“For the records, let me state categorically that I do not share the same ideology with Boko Haram. By my nature, I am opposed to the philosophy of Boko Haram.
“It is instructive to point out that I have been one of the greatest victims of Borno. I was a target of Boko Haram during my time because I refused to abdicate my responsibility.
“Among those killed by Boko Haram was my younger brother, Alhaji Goni. Some of my friends and associates were killed in cold blood by Boko Haram.
“For the records, the late leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, once named me, Umaru Yar’Adua and some other leaders as targets. He boasted he would deal with all of us.
“I banned Boko Haram. I was the one who made a law that outlawed the group. The sect later changed its name. And in spite of our efforts, the group continued to wreak havoc.”
Sheriff said it was “infantile” for chairman of APC, John Oyegun, to accuse him of being a PDP mole during his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“I caused the loss of election by the PDP in Borno when I was in the APC,” he said.
He also branded those linking him with Boko Haram as “either ignorant or completely out for mischief”.
“The sect has become captive of political forces and used for settling political scores,” he said.
“I have no association with any terrorists anywhere. I have never met the group. I cannot be a sponsor of a group I have not met before.
“Today, there are ten thousand members of Boko Haram terrorising our people. All my actions as governor were to guide my people right.”
He argued that the naming of one of his commissioners, Buji Koi, as a member of the group did not make him a member as well.
“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I leave the rest for Nigerians to judge whether it is a crime to do good to all men.”
Sheriff threatened legal action against Davies, saying he had already instructed his lawyers to sue “the faceless Australian”.
Denying the allegation that he had foot soldiers who converted to Boko Haram, he said: “I don’t have foot soldiers as they alleged.
“The allegation that some foot soldiers who turned against me became Boko Haram is not true.
“My invitation by the SSS has nothing to do with Boko Haram. I am prepared to face any panel in the world to clear my name of Boko Haram.”