Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed what Boko Haram members told him when they met in 2011.
In 2011, the former president met with members of the sect and some family members of Mohammed Yusuf, founder of the group.
Sharing his experience at the 2022 annual lecture of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF) which was held on Monday February 21, Obasanjo said his fear about Boko Haram insurgency had materialised with their links with international terrorist organisations.
The former President who blamed insecurity in the country on the access to weapons after the Nigerian civil war, further revealed that Boko Haram did not have external connection at the time he met with them. He said poor handling on the part of the government made the crisis to get out of hand.
Obasanjo said during his trip to Maiduguri in 2011, Boko Haram said they were interested in Sharia and complained that their followers had no job.
“We are not going anywhere until we take national building seriously. Justice and equity. We must build a society where everyone feels it has a stake. The insecurity in the country was caused as a result of the ease to access weapons and since then we have been unable to address the issue; it keeps getting worse.
“In 2011 when Boko Haram was just rearing its ugly head, I went to Maiduguri to try and find out a little bit more about Boko Haram and to also find out what their objective was apart from being interested in Sharia, but they also complained that their followers had no jobs
“In the process the government started chasing them and gunning them down. What I feared at that time seem to have been happening at that time, Boko Haram had not much external connections then, the ones they had would be Nigerians who had resources abroad, who were helping them.”