Aisha Wakil, popularly referred to as ‘Mama Boko Haram’, says Boko Haram suicide bombers are usually “prepared” for their assignments by swearing to an oath and having drugs injected into them, thus making them lose all humaneness.
Wakil, an Igbo woman from Enugu State who got married to a man from Shehuri North in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, made the revelation during a chat with The Punch.
She said she had had several discussions with the militants, whom she sees as her own children, adding that they no longer want to keep fighting but are scared of ‘betrayal’ should they opt to embrace dialogue.
According to Wakil, any would be suicide bomber who has been so prepared must die, whether his mission was successful or not, as a result of the injection that had been given to him/her.
She narrated how, through her mediation, the insurgents aborted what would have been a major attack on St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, Maiduguri, on December 24.
“They planned to bomb St. Augustine’s Church on December 24 last year. One of them called me on that day to find out whether I had travelled,” Wakil said.
“There was a pickup van loaded with explosives in front of the church. I told the caller that I had not travelled and I immediately rushed out and saw the boy that was to carry out the suicide mission. They had already prepared him for the exercise. He had already been given the injection and prepared for burial. The boy was just moving and murmuring.
“I quickly called the (Boko Haram) boys and told them that I can see a vehicle parked and that a boy was moving towards it. They told me that the boy was the suicide bomber.
“They asked why I did not travel again and I told them that my brother, a reverend father, visited Maiduguri and that we would be travelling together after Christmas.
“I instantly told him that I was right inside the church (targeted for bombing) with my brother because I brought food for him. I told them that I was not ready to leave the church, daring them to do their worst.
“They were then confused and asked what I wanted to become of the boy they had prepared for the suicide mission, and I asked them to send the boy away to the nearby bush; after all, he had taken the oath to die, so he should go and die alone.
“They asked me to leave the church premises but I told them that I wouldn’t go until they had diverted the boy away.
“After some time, they told me the boy had left and one of them said, ‘I can see your car driving out’ but I didn’t go with my car.
“This is to show how God works. God planned this. I do not know where a black car came out from that made them to believe I was around the place. So they drove the pickup van away.
“When I did a follow-up, I learnt that the boy had died because he had taken an oath and they had given him an injection preparing him for death. If you take the injection, you can never be yourself again.
“I then warned them that on no account should they target places of worship for bombing again.”
Wakil further said the insurgents are tired of fighting and would welcome the option of dialogue. She added, however, that they do not trust that government is sincere in its offer of dialogue.
“I have always told them (Government authorities) to come down and look for their (Boko Haram’s) mallams for peace. They have mallams; they have elders in the area that can talk to them. They have women and other individuals who can talk to them. There are even wheelbarrow pushers that can talk to them. Government officials should come down and meet them. They are ready for dialogue but they want sincere persons, not betrayers, to lead the dialogue,” she said.
“Some government officials are saying Shekau is hardened. Is he not a human being? Shekau is a human being, and if you watch him, he is always calling Allah and believes he is fighting for Allah and this Allah will touch him. Government should follow the right way and the battle will be over.”
Wakil was one of the three persons declared wanted by the Military in August 2016 for alleged connection to Boko Haram, but all three were released without charges after they turned themselves in.