Alhaji Zanna Umar Mustapha
Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
But for providence, Borno State deputy governor, Alhaji Zanna Umar Mustapha, would have been another statistic in Boko Haram's reign of blood and terror following the weekend attack in Maiduguri at the Shehu of Borno’s palace. Mustapha declared this much Friday while recounting his narrow escape from death when a suicide bomber exploded himself at the palace.
“It really happened when we came out of the mosque at 2:10pm after the Friday prayer. The Imam came to pray for us, me and the Shehu, and after that we went out of the mosque. We took about five steps and then we heard the blast, it was so loud and it actually hit my leg. I looked around and had to hold the Shehu that was close to me and had to tell him to keep calm and not run away. At that time I was a bit down but had to be strong because if I was not strong it would affect everyone around me
“I had a strong hit on my leg and even thought I had lost a leg. I thank God that I have not lost a leg; I lost a shoe on my leg. I do not know how the shoe disappeared. I could not just see the shoe on one of my legs again,” the deputy governor narrated.
“Immediately it happened it dawned on me that there was an attack. I felt that this people have come to attack us in the mosque. I felt the heat on my leg and saw the fright and flight of people. I told the Shehu that they have got me on my legs. I took the Shehu to the vehicle, I moved into my car.”
Mustapha said he only got a clear picture of what had happened when he watched the NTA Network news later that night.
He, however, said he was not disturbed by the incident. “I slept very well, I slept around 10 O' clock and did not wake up till around 7:30am today (yesterday). In fact, I missed my early morning prayer. I felt pain on my leg but now it is okay and I am calm and as a leader whatever situation you find yourself you are expected to be calm.”
The deputy governor said the attack was a clear message that Boko Haram was not the Islamic religious sect they claim, but a group that has set out to levy war on the country.
He also accused the insurgent group of targeting members of the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party in the state.
Mustapha said, “Boko Haram has been targeting all the people in the ANPP. Most of the killings in the state are on leaders of ANPP. We have lost so many people, we people are targets. Shehu, too, is a leader, if they had killed me and the Shehu they would have assumed they have achieved something big for themselves.”
The deputy governor alleged that Boko Haram members were adherents of the religion of murder, saying, “My message to them is that one day they will be exposed and would be made to answer to their crimes. Our prayer is that whoever is sponsoring this God should expose for there is nowhere in the Bible or Koran where it is said one should kill.”
Mustapha advised the security agencies to be more vigilant.
“I think the security men would be able to open their eyes these days and prevent such things from happening. If we have felt that such things could happen in a mosque we could have taken precautions, nobody believed someone could come and attack in an holy mosque,” he said.