By Seun Adeuyi
Uncertainty and anxiety have trailed the alleged reception of Alh. Aliyu Tashaku into the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Benue State.
It was learnt that Tashaku who was a member of the dreaded Boko Haram sect dumped his killing profession with an eye on the Makurdi/Guma federal constituency under the APC come 2023 general election.
Reacting to the development in Nairaland, a social media influencer known as Omenka wrote, “When he was arrested, he was the head of Ortom’s state constituted Livestock Guard, formed upon the passage of Open Grazing Prohibition Law. The state government cried blue murder, saying the FG had the man arrested because he was an impediment to the agenda of rampaging herdsmen.
“APC hailed his arrest while PDP kicked. Myetti Allah was happy for the arrest.
“Today, he’s joining APC and the same PDP that vilified the government for his arrest, claiming his arrest was in furtherance of the government’s sinister agenda against Benue state, are saying a terrorist is joining the ranks of APC.
“He was PDP yesterday, and was an anti-fulani agenda figure to them. APC then said he was a terrorist. Today, he is joining the same APC and he has become a terrorist to PDP. And the revolving door of accusation and counter accusations keep spinning.”
It would be recalled that Ahmad Salkida, a journalist known to have access to the leadership of Boko Haram, revealed that Tashaku whom the military gave out his identity as ‘Aminu Yaminu, aka Tarshaku’, was the insurgent commander, captured in Benue state and that he once shared a cell with Mohammed Yusuf, founder of the sect.
Salkida revealed that Tashaku who was leader of Benue vigilante group, was an escapee Boko Haram member who disappeared in 2009 with Boko Haram’s arms budget.
In his article titled: ‘The Nigerian Killing Fields’, Mr Salkida said the vigilante leader was detained several times by the Nigerian Police.
The army reportedly arrested Tashaku but he was later appointed head of Benue livestock guards by Gov. Ortom and charged with the duty of enforcing compliance on the anti-grazing law in the state.
In a statement, the then Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Major Olabisi Ayeni, said that his arrest was made possible through combined efforts of troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services in Makurdi.
“Nigerian troops have arrested the key Boko Haram suspect, known as Aminu Yaminu, nicknamed Tashaku, who is believed to have masterminded most of the recent attacks in Benue State,” the statement revealed.
The spokesperson said the suspect had concluded plans with his cohorts in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states to launch a major attack on innocent citizens in Benue State.
Tashaku was later accused of masterminding some of the deadly attacks recorded across the state from January 1, 2017.
Three months before Tashaku’s arrest, Salkida alerted the public that the insurgent leader escaped from Boko Haram camp.
But on September 26, 2011, the Boko Haram, in an email statement to journalists, through their spokesman at the time, Abul Qaqa, said they were aware he had been released from detention by the Nigerian secret police, the SSS:
Abul Qaqa said: “And that servant of Allah, Ali Tashanko was at one-time part of us due to the fact that he was planted among us by the SSS to kill our pioneer leader, Malam Mohammad Yusuf, but in Allah’s wisdom he came to appreciate the teaching of Malam (Muhammad Yusuf) as he admitted to us then.
“He told us he had repented and expressed his resolve to undertake Jihad alongside us for the sake of Allah. But after trusting him and giving him a huge amount of money to procure for us some consignments, he disappeared. This was long before the 2009 security crackdown against us.
“We never heard from him until recently when we suddenly heard him in the media claiming to be one of the leaders of this movement and making assurance to broker a truce with government.
“But we do not know whether he has resumed his job of working for the SSS. Allah knows best,” the statement added.
What has remained curious to many Nigerians is how Tashaku found his way to the corridors of power in Benue State.