The mediator spoke about Boko Haram’s activities and the risks he faced in trying to rescue the Chibok girls.
International adviser, Stephen Davis
An international adviser from Australia has opened up on his dangerous 4-month stay in Nigeria.
63-year-old Stephen Davis has worked for 2 Nigerian presidents and established extensive contact with terrorist groups in Africa.
According to him, when he found out about the Chibok girls’ abduction, he made a decision to help. That decision almost cost him his life.
“When confronted by groups with an AK-47 in my face they’d say, ‘you are American, we have to kill you’,”. “When you say, no I’m not American, they think you are British, and say you will still die, but when I said I’m Australian, they said that’s all right. “I have no idea why but it’s certainly been helpful.”
“I made a few phone calls to the Boko Haram commanders and they confirmed they were in possession of the girls,” he said.
“They told me they’d be prepared to release some as a goodwill gesture towards a peace deal with the government, so I went to Nigeria on the basis of being able to secure their release.”
“The girls were there, 60 girls, there were 20 vehicles with girls,” he said.
“We travelled for four-and-a-half hours to reach them, but 15 minutes before we arrived they were kidnapped again by another group who wanted to cash in on a reward.
“The police had offered a reward of several million Naira just 24 hours before we went to pick them up.
“I understand, from the Boko Haram commanders I spoke to, the girls eventually ended up back with them. I don’t know what happened to the group that took them but I suspect it wasn’t good.”
“It became very clear that if I was able to get 50 girls released then another group would kidnap 70 or 80 more,” he said. “So by freeing 50 you were consigning 70 or 80 more to the same fate.”
“Boko Haram used to telephone Nigerian journalists and give them a story, but that doesn’t happen anymore,” “They go straight to social media. They post their own material and they’ve learnt to become very savvy on social media and use it as an instrument to terrorize.”
Dr. Davis added that the only way to stop Boko Haram is to cut off their funding, which according to him is majorly gotten from bank raids and Nigerian politicians.
“That makes it easier in some ways as they can be arrested, but of course the onus of proof is high and many are in opposition, so if the president moves against them, he would be accused of trying to rig the elections due early next year,” he said.
“So I think this will run through to the election unabated.
“These politicians think that if they win power they can turn these terrorists off, but this has mutated.
“It’s no longer a case of Muslims purifying by killing off Christians. They are just killing indiscriminately, beheading, disembowelling people – men, women and children and whole villages.
The over 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14 have still not been found.