Former Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff
By Tobi Soniyi
The exchange of brickbats between two political gladiators in Borno State - former Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmad Zanna representing Borno Central senatorial district - over the arrest of a Boko Haram commander, Shuaibu Bama, continued at the weekend.
Zanna, who is being investigated for his alleged link to the Islamic sect, Sunday rebutted Sheriff’s allegations that he was conniving with the terrorist group and called on security agencies to probe the former governor.
Zanna, in a statement by his Special Assistant, Usman U. Mustapha, made available to reporters in Abuja Sunday, also alleged a plot to remove him from the Senate.
He insisted that contrary to the claim by the Joint Task Force (JTF) that Bama was arrested in his house, the suspect was actually arrested in Sheriff’s house on Rabi Road, Old GRA, off Damboa Road in Maiduguri.
Sheriff, a chieftain of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) had last week accused Zanna of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who defeated him last year in the race to the Senate, of being a Boko Haram supporter.
He said: “This carefully orchestrated campaign of calumny, blackmail, intimidation and character assassination is all about undoing what Allah has decreed.”
He said the ramblings as contained in Sheriff’s response simply confirmed his guilt (Sheriff’s) and complicity in the matter, adding that instead of addressing the core issues he had raised the former governor resorted to diverting attention from the issue on where Bama was arrested.
“Let the JTF be informed that even under the terror of the occupation force that the people of Borno are living, the perpetrators will be shocked with the damning evidence they will see! Let the unwary beware that there is limit to everything, especially, when the people are pushed to the wall, as it were,” the statement added.
Zanna challenged both Sheriff and the JTF to provide answers to some posers which include the owner of the property on Rabi Road, in Maiduguri where the suspect was apprehended? Who took the JTF operatives with vehicles (now withheld) to the property on the fateful day when Shuaibu Bama was arrested and who ordered the killing of Muhammad Yusuf, the leader of the Yusufiyyah Sect?”
The statement called on security agencies to call the then commander of Sheriff’s security outfit in Borno State (Operation Flush), Col. Ben Ahanatu, the then Commissioner of Police, Christopher Deiga and Sheriff to explain their roles in the killing of Alhaji Baba Fugu, an octogenarian, and many others arrested and executed, including the invalids on crutches and teenagers as revealed on You Tube and Aljazeera.
It also urged the JTF to investigate the activities of Sheriff’s private militia code-named, “The ECOMOG” particularly during his tenure in government and after his exit from office.
It said: “These are the issues, among others, that the JTF should investigate if they are at all interested and are actually in Borno to tackle the current state of insecurity and not resorting to harassing, intimidating and framing innocent and productive members of the society in order to know those who disagree with Ali Modu Sheriff.”
The statement accused the JTF in Borno State of being part of the plot to declare Zanna’s seat vacant in the Senate to pave the way for a JTF-supervised fresh senatorial election that would produce Sheriff as the winner.