Barely three weeks after he was declared wanted, Ahmed Salkida, a journalist who is believed to have links with Boko Haram, was arrested yesterday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.
The Department of State Service (DSS) took Salkida into custody for interrogation in connection with the ongoing probe of clues on the whereabouts of about 215 Chibok girls in the sect’s custody.
Following the release of a video clip of the missing girls, the Army declared wanted Aisha Wakil, Amb. Ahmed Umar Bolori and Salkida.
There were indications that after preliminary questioning by the DSS, Salkida might be transferred to the Army for further grilling.
According to a top intelligence source, Salikda, who was issued an Emergency Travel Certificate (ETC) by the Nigerian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, arrived in Abuja yesterday aboard an Emirates Airlines flight.
But Salkida did not return to the country with members of his family, a development which made the security agencies to be curious about their whereabouts.
The Nigerian Immigration Service profile on Salkida indicated that his passport expired on August 16.
The dossier also claimed that Salkida’s residence permit in the UAE had also expired.
The source said: “After he was declared wanted by the Army, Salkida approached our mission in the UAE for the renewal of his passport to return to Nigeria to prove his innocence.
“But based on security reasons, we said we can only oblige him ETC and he should come home to get a new travelling document.
“We also knew that his residence permit in the UAE had expired and we collaborated with relevant agencies to ensure that it is not renewed. We wielded diplomatic influence to prevent him from seeking political asylum under any guise.
“On Sunday, Salkida was granted the ETC by our Embassy to come home and we started tracking his movement from the UAE.
“Upon arrival on the Emirates flight, he was arrested by the DSS, having been watch-listed by the Army.”
Another military source said: “The arrival of Salkida will enable the military and other security agencies to probe how Boko Haram has been releasing video clips and the whereabouts of the Chibok girls.
“We may also invite more people suspected to be working in concert with Salkida. Certainly, it is going to be a comprehensive investigation.
“All I can assure you is that we will carry out this probe in line with international best practices. We will accord the journalist his rights as much as possible under the law.
“We will also confront him with intelligence at our disposal too in order to enable him to respond to our enquiries.”
On August 14, Army’s Acting Director Army Public Relations Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, declared Salkida and two others wanted.
The Army said: “The world is quite aware of the abduction of several persons; women, children and men, including the female students of Government Secondary School Chibok, Borno State Nigeria by Boko Haram Terrorists group.
“Consequently, appeal was made for their unconditional release by the Federal Government. The military also made concerted efforts to rescue them. We also appealed to Nigerians that have any information to volunteer to the military or security agencies to enable us rescue them.
“However, two recent incidents have pointed to the fact that there are three individuals, namely Ahmed Salkida (Ambassador), Ahmed U. Bolori and Aisha Wakil that have information on the conditions and the exact location of these girls.
“Therefore, the Nigerian Army hereby declares the two gentlemen and the lady wanted for interrogation. We are relying on the relevant laws of the land and in particular the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 (as amended) where Nigerians could be punished for failure to disclose information about terrorists or terrorists activities.
“This becomes necessary as a result of their link with the last two videos released by Boko Haram Terrorists and other findings of our preliminary investigations.
“There is no doubt that these individuals have links with Boko Haram Terrorists and have contacts with them. They must therefore come forward and tell us where the group is keeping the Chibok Girls and other abducted persons to enable us rescue them.
“We are therefore calling on all Nigerians and peace loving people to give us useful information on their whereabouts. We are also liaising with other security agencies for their arrest if they failed to turn up.”