Says he will be in Nigeria shortly
By John Eche
Even as the debate over the effectiveness of his being declared wanted rages on, Ahmad Salkida, the Nigerian journalist named at the weekend as a possible suspect in relation to Boko Haram’s latest video, says he has presently commenced preparations to return to country.
In a statement he released on Monday, Mr. Salkida said the Army was well aware that he was not in the country at the moment, adding however that his journey back home would be quickened if the government could provide him with a more urgent ticket.
“The Army is aware that I am not in Nigeria presently. In the coming days I will seek to get a flight to Abuja and avail myself to the Army authorities. Indeed, my return will be hastened if the military sends me a ticket,” Mr. Salkida said.
Mr. Salkida was declared wanted alongside two others on Sunday for their alleged ties to Boko Haram sect.
According to the military, Mr. Salkida, Ambassador Ahmed Bolori and Hajia Aisha Wakil may have already committed offences that contravened the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011, by not providing information about the group to the authorities.
The Army statement was signed by its spokesman, Sani Usman, who also said that the three individuals were also wanted for their alleged roles in the release of Boko Haram’s recent videos.
The latest video released on Saturday showed Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the sect since 2014. The group said they would only release the girls if the government released its fighters.
In his reaction on Monday, Mr. Salkida said the Army was declaring him wanted for simply carrying out his professional duties as a journalist, adding that he did most of his work with “total allegiance and sacrifice to the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
“Clearly, my status as a Nigerian journalist who has reported extensively, painstakingly and consistently on the Boko Haram menace in the country since 2006 is an open book known to Nigerians and the international community,” Mr. Salkida said.
Mr. Salkida, who has written extensively about the Boko Haram sect, said he had visited Nigeria three times within the past year on the invitation of the Nigerian government, in an effort to rescue the abducted girls.
“As a testimony to the credible and professional values of my access, since May 2015, l have been to Nigeria three times on the invitation of Federal Government agencies. I made personal sacrifices for the release of our Chibok daughters,” Mr. Salkida said.
On his part, one of the three persons declared wanted by the army, Mr. Bolori, said he made himself available to the military authorities but was told to wait until later before they take him in for interrogations.