COMPLETE Care and Aid Foundation founder Aisha Wakil has been charged with three counts of criminal conspiracy and obtaining the sum of N41.7m ($109,248) under false pretences by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Popularly known as Mama Boko Haram, Ms Wakil has been charged in Maiduguri and arraigned before Justice Aisha Kumaliya of the Borno State High Court. She was arraigned alongside Tahiru Saidu Daura, and Prince Lawal Shoyede, all of Complete Care and Aid Foundation, a non-governmental organisation.
Mr Daura is the programme manager of the charity, while Mr Shoyede is the Nigeria country director. All three defendants were alleged to have induced one Hajia Bilkisu Mohammed Abubakar to execute a supply contract worth N41m for Complete Care and Aid Foundation, owned by Ms Wakil.
Upon the fulfilment of the contract, however, the foundation refused to pay. When the charge was read out in court, the defendants, however, pleaded not guilty and based on their plea, prosecuting counsel Haruna Abdulkadirn asked the court to fix a date for trial.
This was to enable the first and third defendants who did not have legal representation to come with their counsel. Justice Kumaliya consequently adjourned the case until January 26 for commencement of trial.
He asked Mama Boko Haram and Mr Shoyede to engage the services of counsel of their choice, failing which the EFCC will be at liberty to proceed with its case without their lawyers. Mama Boko Haram and her accomplices are facing various fraud charges in Maiduguri courts and in one case, the charge is over N25m, in another N66m, while there are two others over sums involving N42m and N111m.
Ms Wakil get her nickname from the fact that she is one of the few people outside Boko Haram who could reach its members. She us regularly in touch with its senior fighters and used that access to negotiate freedom for hostages who the terrorists kidnap.
One of the founders of Boko Haram, Ms Wakil helped in recruiting members of the movement at the outset. However, she was shocked when the group turned violent under Mohammed Yusuf and left and she now takes care of young children in Maiduguri.