Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida, has revealed that he turned down several request to interview Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.
Salkida, while responding to series of questions on twitter, noted that he regrets those decisions now.
He added that if the opportunity comes again, he would not hesitate to accept it but he said he doubts if he would ever have the opportunity again.
Salkida has been at the forefront of reporting the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, giving exclusives and breaking stories.
My only regret today is turnng down several requests to interview #AbubakarShekau between 2011 to 2016 and I doubt if such an opportunity will come my way again, if it does, I will not hesitate to risk it, like any other serious minded reporter would.
— Ahmad Salkida (@ContactSalkida) May 1, 2018
“My only regret today is turning down several requests to interview #AbubakarShekau between 2011 to 2016 and I doubt if such an opportunity will come my way again, if it does, I will not hesitate to risk it, like any other serious-minded reporter would,” Salkida wrote.
“The sole reason I turned it down was, I am Nigerian and live in Nigeria. Reckon I have not interviewed a Shekau, yet went through a lot for mere scoops. But a lot has changed today, I guess.
“No doubt, Nigeria is one of the most difficult places to be a journalist and the biggest threat to journalists are journalists, before anything else. I am stating this from experience of working as a journalist in Nigeria in the last 18 years.”
Salkida further said he has never been paid by the sect for any of the services he rendered.
He said he has no godfather, adding that he has been driven by his consistency and professionalism.
He also said he had been threatened several times and he tried to quit reporting the crisis but he persists because nobody fills the gap in his absence.
“No, I have NEVER been paid. In fact, #BH has threatened me several times over the years in the same manner some officials have done. My only stake is #journalism and the fact that the crisis is in my home,” he said.
“Thank you and I am glad that I have been guided by a set of values that has constantly kept me above my traducers. Trust me, I tried to quit, but each time I did, no one has filled the gaps and the right of citizens to examine both sides of the coin in the #LakeChadCrisis.
“I’v invested 13yrs on this story and cultivated invaluable sources. Many #BH that joined lately do not know the history of the group like I do. Trust me, officials and #BH leadrs may not like me, but see value in my #investigativereporting work, hence I can’t be dismissed easily.
“I’ve always known that I can’t afford to make mistakes in my BH reportage. I’ve no #godfathers, I’ve no #BlueBloods. I survived this long bcz of consistency and professionalism. My career has been guided by my slogan – integrity is the most valuable article of trade in Journalism.
“A military interrogator once told me angrily when told to release me, during one of my several invitations, “we are watching you.” I replied, “I know, but you aren’t the only one, my creator is watching me also and that is most important in guiding my conscience and work.”