Goodluck Jonathan (File: AFP)
Lagos – Over the past years, President Goodluck Jonathan has been accused for his muted response to the continued slaughter of civilians by Boko Haram militants.
Some have even suggested he could be sponsoring the terrorist group, with former president Olusegun Obasanjo reportedly having accused him of misreading the group and allowing its threat to escalate to "gargantuan" heights.
News24 spoke to a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in South Africa, Martin Ewe, who dismissed the insinuations, saying there was nothing substantial to verify that Jonathan was indeed behind the terror group.
"Everyone in Nigeria accuses each other of being behind Boko Haram because people don’t really come out in the open to say they are Boko Haram. I’ve been analysing Jonathan’s response to terrorism and his slow response could be the reason why people accuse him of being behind Boko Haram. But really there is no substance to such insinuations," said Ewe.
He said if Jonathan had approached the issue of Boko Haram in a more decisive and aggressive manner, Nigeria "wouldn’t be where it is now. His approach implicates him into this problem".
Boko Haram has continued to unleash violence, particularly in the northeast part of the country where thousands have been killed.
In April last year, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 girls from Chibok boarding school. Some 10 months later, most of these girls are still missing.
According to reports, Boko Haram sees the mass kidnapping as a shining symbol of success, and has continued to abduct hundreds of other girls, boys and women.
Ewe said Boko Haram’s funding was not limited to a single individual, as the group got involved in a number of criminal activities like drug trafficking and armed robberies to raise funds.
“The group also gets external funding from other terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. Such groups provide support like trainings. It’s not known, however, how frequent they receive this kind of support,” said Ewe.