Part Three: Boko Haram as Caliphate agents--the evidence thus far

How did Boko Haram originate? And what are its links to the Caliphate?

A: Early history of Boko Haram: its origins and cooptation by powerful sponsors

Excerpt from Olusegun Adeniyi,  Power, Politics and Death, Lagos: Prestige, 2011, pp. 106-112.

Olusegun Adeniyi was the media spokesperson for President Yar’ Adua, and his account is based on what the Yar’ Adua’s Presidency (Aso Rock) knew of the origins of Boko Haram. It can therefore be regarded as the official story of the rise of Boko Haram:



The history of the sect can easily be traced to 2002 with Muhammad Yusuf, a native of Jakusko in Yobe State, as its spiritual leader and founder. His rise from relative obscurity to prominence in the Salafi Islamic religious circle (Wahabites) derived from the fact that he was a close disciple of the late Sheikh Jaafar Adam. So prominent was Yusuf within the sect that at a time he was regarded as heir to the pulpit at Muhammadu Ndimi Mosque in Maiduguri, where Jaafar Adam used to conduct annual tafsir in the month of Ramadan.

With time, however, Yusuf began to introduce some unorthodox beliefs—including aversion to western education and a call for jihad to oust the secular status quo—within the Salafi circle. He also began what was considered a rigorous proselytizing campaign to capture impressionable minds, especially among the youth who frequented the mosque.

Eventually, he had to part ways with his spiritual leader, Jaafar Adam and was sent packing from the Ndimi mosque by the mosque committee. He moved to Daggash mosque, where he continued the same teaching. His daring and scathing verbal attacks on the government portrayed Yusuf as a fiery and intrepid cleric and this obviously endeared him to the common people, who began to see him as a champion of the downtrodden.

Members of the political elite in Maiduguri were, however, taking note, and Yusuf was considered no more than a nuisance. It was therefore no surprise that the Daggash mosque committee also expelled him within a short time. That was when his father-in-law, Baba Fugu, gave Yusuf a piece of land at the Railway quarters, where he built a mosque and an adjoining house he dubbed 'markas', from where he continued his preaching, drawing followers from the city and beyond. His initial followership was largely from among secondary school students and primary school pupils who abandoned their studies on the ground that western education ('boko') was a sin ('haram'), hence the name Boko Haram. As he got more followers, his power and influence also grew.

Ultimately, Yusuf and the late Adam became archenemies, spewing verbal attacks on each other's views and interpretations of Islamic tenets. Adam was vociferous in exposing what he described as the folly of Yusuf's views on western education and the 'jihad' whose advocate he [Yusuf] had become. He also warned against the indoctrination of impressionable minds.

These opposing views quite naturally degenerated into violence. Twice Yusuf's disciples reportedly made failed attempts on Adam's life in Maiduguri. Yusuf would later be paid in his own coin when some of his lieutenants also became more radical, claiming he had become too soft in his approach and thus splitting from his camp to form a splinter group they named Taliban.

In September 2004, the group launched an armed uprising from a village called Kanamma in Yobe State on the border with Niger Republic; they had renamed the village Afghanistan. They attacked police stations, and troops had to be sent in to restore order after several people had been killed. The soldiers engaged the group in a two-day battle in which many sect members were killed, some were captured and others went underground.

This attack caused the group to keep a low profile for a year, but by then the activities of Yusuf had attracted the attention of security agencies, which on several occasions arrested and charged him to court. But his lawyers always managed to secure freedom for him. A few months later, the splinter group re-emerged and launched attacks on some police stations in Bama and Gwoza in Borno State, where they killed policemen, including an assistant police commissioner, carted away guns and ammunition before running into the Mandara mountains on the border with Cameroon.

The army was sent in, accompanied by helicopters. They engaged the sect members in a mountainous battle, and in the process, scores of the attackers were killed while the rest crossed the border into Cameroon. The Nigerian government alerted the Cameroonian authorities, whose gendarmes succeeded in arresting five of the militants and handed them over to Nigeria.

Following that encounter, Yusuf felt he had lost committed members of his group, who were gradually becoming hostile towards him for what they perceived as his weakness and moderate views. In mid 2005, he made overtures for reconciliation to the splinter group, and there was some reintegration.

After this, Yusuf rose from a poor preacher to a wealthy cleric living in opulence and driving SUVs around the city, where he was hailed as a hero for his criticism of the government and his call for sharia law. His preachings—recorded on CDs which he daily doled out, were hot cake in the city and beyond, selling in thousands.

In April 2007, on the eve of the general elections in the country, some unidentified men stormed Jaafar Adam's mosque in Dorayi, a suburb of Kano city, at dawn and fatally shot him and three other worshipers while he was leading the morning prayers. The attack was later followed with an invasion of a mobile police detachment in Panshekara neighbourhood, during which 13 policemen were killed. Soldiers were drafted to the area, and the gunmen eventually crossed the Challawa River, behind the abandoned water works they camped in, and fled.

A few days earlier, the gunmen had launched a pre-dawn attack at the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) office and killed two officers on night duty. The incident was thought to be a robbery attack until the night of July 26, 2009, when Yusuf's men struck again, invading and attacking several police posts and public buildings in parts of Bauchi, Borno, Kano and Yobe states. At this point, the president decided that the Boko Haram menace had to be confronted frontally.

Coming on the eve of his departure for a twice-postponed state visit to Brazil, there were suggestions that the president should shelve the trip on account of the lives of policemen that were lost. But he argued that it would be improper to do so given that the trip had been postponed twice, and besides, he noted, the security agencies were in control of the situation. Before we departed for the airport, he met with the NSA and security chiefs as well as the service chiefs to whom he gave this directive: deploy troops to the area and fish out all the leaders and members of the extremist sects involved in the attacks. The president further directed that security be beefed up in all neighbouring states and security personnel placed on full alert to ensure that the attacks did not spread elsewhere. He also used informal channels to reach out to emirs and prominent Islamic leaders in the north to rally support against Boko Haram. I had told State House correspondents to proceed to the airport ahead of our convoy as I had secured the commitment of the president to field questions before our departure. At the session, the president expressed his heartfelt sympathies with the families of the gallant police men who lost their lives while defending their posts from the senseless attacks, as well as other innocent victims who may have been caught in the unjustifiable mayhem. He also reaffirmed his determination to deal decisively with all those whose misguided beliefs and actions promoted violence, and contempt for the rights of others and undermined national peace, stability, and security. Indeed, the soldiers deployed to tackle the Boko Haram sect fulfilled the president's mandate when they captured its leader, Yusuf, alive with what was no more than a minor injury on his arm. In the euphoria of the moment, the army commander of the operation, Col. Ben Ahanoto, allowed his men to take snapshots of Yusuf with their mobile phone cameras, before they handed him over to the police.

The story turned awry, however, when a few hours later journalists were shown the bullet-ridden body of Yusuf, who was said to have died in a shoot-out with the police. Meanwhile, Ahanoto had spoken to reporters on record that he had personally captured Yusuf and handed him over to the chief of police in Maiduguri. He said Yusuf had a wound on his arm, which had already been treated. The police, however, insisted that Yusuf had been fatally wounded.

There were reports that the attack on the police station by Boko Haram members was a response to an earlier attack on the sect members in the course of a funeral procession. They were said to have been accosted by the joint police/army task force called Operation Flush for not wearing helmets while riding motorcycles. In the altercations that followed, tempers had flared, with policemen allegedly killing about 17 of the sect members. This was said to have been the genesis of the crisis, but there were also allegations that the subsequent order for the killing of Yusuf and Alhaji Buji Foi (a former commissioner for religious affairs in Borno State) after they had been captured alive was given by certain political leaders in Borno State. There may not have been any credibility to the allegations, but Boko Haram members believed it and were out for revenge.

The suspicion of extra-judicial killings, however, spurred a reaction from the police commissioner of Borno State, Christopher Dega, who said Yusuf "was in a hideout, and the forces went there, and there was an exchange of fire. In the course of that confrontation, he sustained his own injury. He was picked up, and he later couldn't make it."

This was different from the first police version, in which Yusuf was said to have been fatally wounded while trying to escape from custody. This version had indeed been corroborated by Usman Ciroma, the spokesman to the Borno State governor, who told the Associated Press: "I saw his body at police headquarters. I believe he was shot while he was trying to escape."

Yusuf's financier, Buji Foi, who had been arrested and driven to the police headquarters in Maiduguri also died under curious circumstances. Unfortunately, there are video recordings of Foi's execution still circulating on cell phones. I was shown one by a police officer! The same fate befell his father-in-law, Alhaji Baba Fugu, who also reported at the police station but never came out alive.

Human Rights Watch said that the reports of Yusuf's killing were extremely worrying. "The Nigerian authorities must act immediately to investigate and hold to account all those responsible for this unlawful killing and any others associated with the recent violence in northern Nigeria," said Corinne Dufka, the group's senior West Africa researcher. In a statement issued in Geneva, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay also expressed her concerns. She called on the Nigerian government to investigate Yusuf's killing and bring offenders to justice.

When the BBC published the photograph that showed that Yusuf was alive when captured by the army, I knew we could no longer keep quiet and that the point had to be made that extra-judicial execution had no place under the rule of law. As, I however, waited to see the president, who was in a meeting with the VP, I made the mistake of openly voicing my concern about what I considered extra-judicial execution. This did not go down well with the governor of Gombe, Alhaji Danjuma Goje, who was also waiting to see the president. "Segun, I sometimes wonder on whose side you really are. This is someone who killed several policemen and innocent people, and all that concerns you is what some human rights noisemakers would say," he charged.

We had a hot exchange on the matter and since he saw the president ahead of me, I was not surprised when my principal bluntly refused to discuss the matter. It was a difficult period, because while I worried about the image of the government, I could also understand the anger of the police, whose men were brutally killed.

[End of excerpt on Boko Haram’s origins and cooptation by powerful sponsors]


But who were these shadowy sponsors who adopted Boko Haram?

According to evidence [see  Q29, directly above] in the book  Power, Politics and Death by Olusegun Adeniyi, President Yar’ Adua’s media spokesperson, Boko Haram was a tiny and obscure sect until mid-2005 when it was apparently adopted by some powerful sponsors. Its leader began to live affluently and the magnitude and sophistication of its terror capacity became greatly enhanced.

By 2011, when its current terror campaign was unleashed, it had had some six years to acquire links, allegedly to Al Qaeda, and had become a multi-million dollar organization with sophisticated weapons and bombing techniques.

In 2012, Boko Haram  gave a “quit the North” order to those the Caliphate leaders had called “invaders” back in 1948 [See  Q 15, above], and enforced the order by bombing churches and funerals and by other acts of mass murder. These bombings were not “senseless”, as some claim, but had the purpose of ethnic cleansing away those their sponsors long ago described as “invaders” of the Caliphate territory.

 As the following news headlines show, some of those questioned or arrested by the security agencies and those, especially, who gave conditions for bringing in Boko Haram to dialogue with the Government (thereby indicating that they were in touch with the group) have been Caliphate big shots (including emirs, senators and ACF chieftains). e.g.:

SSS arrest Ndume over Boko Haram links

November 22, 2011 , (Accessed Oct, 2012)


Boko Haram: The Emir Of Suleja Questioned For Alleged Boko Haram Involvement -- Politics - Nairaland  ; (Accessed Oct, 2012)


Police arrest Emir of Abaji, two sons over escaped Boko Haram suspect

By  Pilot Africa  on January 20, 2012 , (Accessed Oct 2012)


"Boko Haram Is A Multi-billion Naira Outfit", Security Source

Posted: January 29, 2012 - 02:37

(Accessed Oct 2012)


Nigeria: ACF Wants Security for Boko Haram Leaders Before Dialogue

2 February 2012  (Accessed Oct 2012)


Terrorism Trial: Senator Ndume Says VP Namadi Sambo Was Aware Of His Activities With Boko Haram-VANGUARD

Posted: March 25, 2012 - 12:20      (Accessed Oct 2012)


President: Boko Haram has infiltrated govt, military    09/01/2012; ( Accessed Oct 2012)

When President Jonathan confessed that his government is infiltrated by Boko Haram, he was, in his own way, admitting that strategic places in the Nigerian state apparatus are occupied by persons loyal to the Caliphate/ACF sponsors of Boko Haram. And that even he, the President and Commander-in-Chief, is more or less a one-man hostage to them and the system they entrenched over the years. That was President Jonathan’s way of signaling that he was aware that the Caliphate was the sponsor of Boko Haram.


VP Sambo Had Close Ties To Alleged Boko Haram Sponsor

 January 17, 2012  (Accessed Oct 2012)


Northern politicians created Boko Haram – Mustapha Jokolo, former Emir of Gwandu

Published on Friday, 30 March 2012 11:46 ; (Accessed Oct. 2012)


This reported statement by the deposed Emir of Gwandu declaring that Northern politicians created Boko Haram, is like the testimony of the former deputy leader of a criminal gang turned prosecution witness.

We must recall that when he was the Emir of Gwandu, he was the Number two man in the Caliphate hierarchy, second only to the Sultan of Sokoto. Besides, he was the very man who, at a meeting of emirs in March 2005, called for a fight with the Obasanjo government. [See  Q5 above] And it was a few months later, in mid-2005, that Boko Haram began to show evidence of better financing and increasing capacity. Jokolo must know well whereof he spoke in 2012.

We have seen that for the Caliphate, gaining and retaining power by fraud and mass slaughter is more congenial than doing so through free and fair elections. Given that background, the sample news headlines, displayed above, that link Boko Haram operatives to Caliphate figures (ACF leaders, Caliphate politicians, as well as Emirs) are prima facie evidence that Boko Haram has Caliphate sponsors. Jokolo’s authoritative and insider’s statement in 2012 pretty much establishes the point.


About the Author

Chinweizu is a historian and Neo-Garvey Pan-Africanist. His books include  The West and the Rest of Us, (1975); and  Decolonising the African Mind (1987).

All rights reserved.

© Chinweizu 2013

[1]     (Accessed Jan, 2013)

[3]  (Accessed Jan, 2013)

[5] (Accessed Jan, 2013)

[9]  (Accessed Jan, 2013)

[11]  (Accessed Jan, 2013)