Hajiya Aisha Wakil popularly known as Mama Boko Haram hails from Enugu State. Now a Muslim and married to a Northerner with three children, she is known to be close to some commanders and members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect. In a recent interview with PUNCH, she recounted her ordeal with the Department of State Services(DSS) and meeting with Boko Haram insurgents. According to her, “They(DSS) said I knew where Shekau was and that they wanted to get the Chibok girls out and resolve the whole issue and that I was not releasing the information at my disposal.
“I was not arrested; I went on my own to meet them. They heard me, I told them that I was not hiding and that I wasn’t hoarding information in my quest for peace. I also told them that even when I went to the bush to meet with those guys and someone asked me about the trip, I always revealed the details of our interaction. But if you ask me where they were, I will not tell you that; I will tell you I do not know. Actually, I do not know because they usually take me there in a blindfold inside a car with strict instructions that I should bow down my head throughout the trip.
“They would deliberately drive round for hours until they are sure that I have become drowsy and possibly slept off. How do you expect me to know where they had taken me? It is also the same process when they are bringing me back. As a matter of fact, what is the purpose of telling the DSS where they are? Can’t they go and look for them? Sometimes, when I go to them in the bush, I spend about three days, and at times, a week. It is a pathetic situation. You see them sometimes shedding tears, anxious to be reunited with the society.
They would deliberately drive round for hours until they are sure that I have become drowsy and possibly slept off.
“They usually confess that they are tired of the life they are living. Anybody who knows my history will know that the boys, when things were still good, were staying in my house. In those days, if you came to my house, the gate was always opened to everybody. I never discriminated against anyone. We were living together, and even whenever I was going somewhere around in Shehuri North then, they would carry my handbag and call me mummy and asked what I had for them.
“They would tell me what they wanted to eat and I would give them money to go to the market. We would prepare the food and eat. They were like kids to me. Some of them, I did their circumcision when they were boys of just seven years old. So they grew up seeing me as a mother.”
On whether she sees an end to the Boko Haram war, she said,” I believe in God and I pray a lot. I believe in prayers. If we pray, these kids are not more powerful than God. I do encourage people to also pray about it. There is one adage in Igbo that says if you drag a stick and the stick drags you, you leave the stick and run for your life. They (Federal Government) keep telling me that they have dragged the stick (Boko Haram insurgents) and that the stick has dragged them and it is now for them to leave the stick.
Some of them, I did their circumcision when they were boys of just seven years old. So they grew up seeing me as a mother.
“But I keep telling them that this is not a stick but human beings and we have to continue to drag them. These are Nigerians, our children, our brothers and sons. We cannot just leave them like that, because leaving them like that would create more problems. I believe it (the insurgency) will end; they (the insurgents) wanted it to end. Anytime I talk to them, they always ask me when the war would end and would also seek to know how it would end.”