Audu Bulama Bukarti an analyst in violent extremism has described David Hundeyin’s “Cornflakes for Jihad: The Boko Haram Origin Story” – as neither investigative nor good journalism, saying the author is just an “an overzealous attention seeker out to vilify his enemies and feed his base”.
In this Wednesday Column on Daily Trust, Bukarti who is also an expert in security said Hundeyin’s work is a classic conspiracy theory put together by cherry-picking documents, plagiarising discredited scholars, and ignorantly or mischievously conflating events and players.
In the column titled; “Conspiracies For Journalism: The Boko Haram Origin Fiction”, Bukarti said, “while the author prides himself as an investigative journalist, there is no evidence that his ‘investigation’ went further than his desk. Most of those he accused of terror financing are alive, but he did not attempt to hear their version of events”.
He said, Hundeyin is not an expert on the Boko Haram crisis, terrorism financing or Islamic organizations in northern Nigeria saying, there are hundreds of Nigerian and non-Nigerian specialists with degrees in these fields whom a journalist can easily speak to, but David didn’t interview any of them. He also said, the authors of most of the documents he referenced are easily contactable, but he didn’t reach out to any of them.
He said Hundeyin’s supposed revelation that the NASCO group of companies and their founder, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, have been indicted for laundering and moving money around the world to fund terrorism and designated by the United States and the United Nations is a mere regurgitation of previous reports.
According to Bukarti, “the second problem is that David conveniently ignored the second half of the story which is that NASCO and its founder were cleared of wrongdoing, delisted by the United Nations and removed from the United States’ list on 15 and 23 November 2007 respectively”.
“If he had “searched and clicked” for a few more minutes, he would have found that the central plank of his story was demolished. It is hard to see how he spent ‘a couple of months’ researching.”, he said. “If he did know, his ignoring it to push his narrative says everything about his motive and relationship with the truth. NASCO has released a statement highlighting its exoneration, but I think they should go further by taking legal action”.
Bukarti reemphasizes that, the role of a journalist or published researcher is to uncover and communicate truth, not to peddle dangerous conspiracies. “When one so publicly falls short of this goal, it is incumbent on those who value the truth to point it out”, he concluded.