Mother of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has given what appears to be her first media interview. Falmata Abubakar spoke with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America (VOA) in Shekau village in Yobe State.
In a report published yesterday, VOA said elders and leader of the village took its team to the woman.
The report also said Shekau’s late father was the Imam of the village mosque before his death. Shekau’s mother said she had no idea where her son was or his situation.
“I don’t know whether he is dead or alive; only God knows. I have not seen him in the last 15 years,” she said.
Speaking further, Shekau’s mother said he left the village for Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, as a young boy, in search of Islamic knowledge and that he was an “almajiri boy” who walked around the streets of Maiduguri, looking for food.
She said it was in the course of seeking Islamic knowledge that her son came into contact with the founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, who indoctrinated him.
“I did not set my eyes on him since he came into contact with Mohammed Yusuf. I know he is my son and everyone knows a mother’s love for her son, but our attitude to life is different.
“He has put so many people in serious difficulty; I pray that God guides him right.” Madam Falmata said she will not curse her son but he has become someone who she doesn’t recognise anymore.
“He just took his own character and went away. This is not the character I gave him. I don’t know what this type of behaviour is. It’s only God who knows. He has chosen a path different from the one we put him on. Only God knows what he has become now,” she reiterated.
Residents of the village said they always hid the identity of their village for fear of being associated with the Boko Haram leader.
Shekau is notorious for his leadership of the deadly group responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
According to VOA, Shekau has personally carried out the execution of several people including members of the sect he leads. He has also carried out many raids leading to death and destruction of many towns and villages across the North-eastern part of Nigeria.
Shekau took leadership of the group after Yusuf’s death, who was killed in police custody. The Nigerian military has repeatedly claimed to have killed Shekau. Those claims have turned out false.
The Boko Haram leader is on the Federal Government’s list of most wanted terrorists. The United States government also has a bounty on him.
Boko Haram came into international limelight after the sect kidnapped 219 girls from a government secondary school in Chibok, Borno State and thereafter, killed scores of boys in a Buni Yadi school.
In February this year, the sect abducted 110 girls from a school in Dapchi and returned them a month later, holding onto a Christian girl, Leah Sharibu, who has stridently refused to denounce her faith.