I’m not on the run, wanted journalist tells DHQ

A journalist, Ahmed Salkida, has said that he was not on the run from Nigeria as the Nigerian Army has made the public to believe, by declaring him wanted over alleged connection with the Boko Haram sect, declaring that he will soon make himself available to the military.

Salkida and two other persons, Ahmed Bolori and Aisha Wakil, were on Sunday declared wanted by the military over alleged link with the Boko Haram sect, especially with the last two videos released by the sect.

But Salkida, in an electronic statement made available to newsmen on Monday, in Abuja, said he, in the coming days, would be in Abuja, to avail himself to the Army authorities.

The statement read: “My attention has been drawn to a public notice put out by the Nigerian Army and signed by Colonel S.K. Usman, Acting Director, Army Public Relations. The statement declaring me wanted seeks culpable grounds to punish me on account of  ‘last two videos released by Boko Haram terrorists and other findings…’ by the Army.

“Clearly, my status as a Nigerian journalist, who has reported extensively, painstakingly and consistently on the Boko Haram menace in the country since 2006, is an open book known to Nigerians and the international community. Equally, my total allegiance and sacrifice to the Federal Republic of Nigeria is self evident. I have stayed within the creed of professional journalism in my work.

“As a testimony to the credible and professional values of my access, since May 2015, I had been to Nigeria three times on the invitation of  Federal Government agencies. I made personal sacrifices for the release of our Chibok daughters.

“Finally, the Army is aware that I am not in Nigeria presently. In the coming days, I will seek to get a flight to Abuja and avail myself to the Army authorities. Indeed, my return will be hastened if the Military sends me a ticket,” it stated.

Meanwhile, the Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism (CATE), on Monday, accused a journalist, Ahmed Salkida of overstepping his journalistic privileges, turning himself into a sympathiser and propaganda tool for the terrorists, the Boko Haram group.

CATE had, therefore, called on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to immediately charge Salkida to court under the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013, even in abstentia.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, on Monday, National Coordinator of CATE, Gabriel Onoja, said the Federal Government must act on the strength of the charges to be filed against Salkida and apply for his extradition from the United Arab Emirates.

According to him, there were several international agreements that could also be leveraged to make this happen since the larger consensus in the world was to fight terrorism wherever it reared its ugly head.

Onaja pointed out that the offer by Salkida to mediate in the aftermath of the video release was a move to place him in the good books of the government, knowing that he had been an accomplice to terror all along.