By Samuel Malik
The Nigerian journalist declared wanted by the Nigerian Army in connection with Boko Haram has said he has no control over the group despite having contacts with some of its leaders.
“I neither decide for the government nor for Boko Haram,” he said.
Self-exiled Ahmed Salkida, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, with his family, was reacting to calls by some Nigerians for the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners to direct their planned protest today towards him instead of the government.
“Beyond what I report as news, I have no authority over those I report. Neither in government nor those of the terrorists fold,” he declared.
The BBOG plans to match to the Presidential Villa to demand the release of the Chibok girls following proof of some of them being alive in a video released by the insurgents recently.
Salkida, the only Nigerian journalist known to have contacts within the group and who has reported extensively and exclusively on its activities, said he is helpless in securing their release because he wields no influence over the sect.
Beyond what I report as news, I have no authority over those I report. Neither in government nor those of the terrorists fold
While admitting that he had in the past tried to use his contacts to secure the release of the girls, the Borno State-born journalist said such efforts brought him enemies rather than appreciation.
“I have written extensively on the issues that undermine the sanctity of our humanity as a nation such as the abducted Chibok school girls. I have even at the government’s request sought to use my professional access to affect possible release of the girls.
“This ground of sacrifice has sadly and repeatedly harvested the most unjustifiable professional hostility towards me,” he posted on his blog.
Salkida noted that his reporting on Boko Haram has made him stand out like a sore thumb both among government and its supporters but said other journalists in the past had suffered worse.
He, however, pointed out that government is capable of securing the release of the abducted school girls.
“I know that both the previous and current government in Nigeria publicly declared a commitment to get the girls released. I believe that any government that takes this as an obligation can achieve the set objective,” he said.