Ahmad Salkida was reportedly arrested by security forces on Monday as soon as he landed in Abuja.
Salkida has a storied past—he’s reported on the activities of terrorist sect Boko Haram and once famously conducted an interview with Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf.
The terrorist sect has used Salkida as its outlet for dispensing its propaganda videos to the world on numerous occasions.
Last month, Salkida giddily revealed via his Twitter account that Boko Haram had found him a worthy conduit yet again.
“Jama‘atu Ahlil Sunnah Li-Da‘awati Wal-Jihad #BH has released a video showing the abducted #Chibokgirls and restating their demands. This is the second time Shekau has ordered a video of the girls to be released to the public, since the abduction of the girls 852 days ago”, he tweeted.
He would go on to describe the material in his possession: “I'm studying the video of the #Chibokgirls that was sent exclusively to me before their abductors upload on it YouTube later. @BBOG_Nigeria.
“Many of the girls can be seen in the video, a Chibok girl speaks in mother tongue and narrates how airstrikes has killed dozens of her mates.
Horrifying images of some of the #Chibokgirls alleged to have been killed by airstrikes. I will end this commentary until video is uploaded.
“The demands of the captors remains the same, the only difference today is the sense of urgency to rescue these girls, they look... Dear oh dear. What sort of a human being will subject fellow human beings to this level of unimaginable suffering?”
Moments later, Salkida released the video of the Chibok Girls.
The Nigerian Army was sorely displeased by the development and declared the journalist a wanted man alongside Aisha Wakil and Ahmed Bolori--two other persons the army contends are Boko Haram sympathizers.
I have been scratching my head since that declaration was made by the army. What purpose was it meant to serve? Why scare and alienate the same people who could provide useful information concerning the heinous activities of the terrorist sect?
Events that followed would prove why the Army’s declaration was a joke—Wakil and Bolori promptly turned themselves in and there were no Army personnel at the terrorist command center base to attend to them.
Reports say a few personnel at the Army headquarters wondered who the ‘wanted’ chaps were; an indication that the Army had done a poor job of disseminating the information within its ranks before rushing to score some PR points.
There were also unconfirmed reports that a few soldiers had asked Wakil and Bolori why they bothered to turn themselves in so quickly.
Everything looked like a farce.
Salkida who is based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), promised to turn himself in as well once the Army was able to procure his flight ticket.
It is unclear if the Army kept its side of the bargain, but Salkida was well on his way to making himself available to the authorities on Monday when he was “arrested”, it appears.
Which begs the question: why arrest someone who was on his way to turning himself in anyway?
At this point in the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram, Salkida, Wakil and Bolori, should be treated as assets by the military.
Salkida has put himself in harm’s way in the past while bringing to the public’s attention the activities of the sect.
Far from being a national hero, Salkida admittedly hasn’t conducted himself properly on occasion.
He’s run his mouth (sorry, fingers) in ways that could jeopardize the military’s operations against Boko Haram. There are times he’s also sounded like a Boko Haram sympathizer.
But with the level of information at his disposal and with his knowledge of the inner workings of the terrorist organization, Salkida should be courted by the military.
As should all others who have been rescued by the army from the clutches of Boko Haram and who may have useful information about Boko Haram.
Intelligence reports and not brute force, will be most required in winning the Boko Haram war and you get intelligence from people.
It will be in Nigeria’s interest that Salkida is not unduly rough handled by the Army.
Surely, he must know a thing or two that the rest of us do not and it would be in everyone's interest if he remains on the Army’s side of the war.