MAIDUGURI—ISLAMIC sect, Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for series of bomb attacks in the northern part of the country, yesterday, declared that its next targets would be offices of political parties nationwide even as it denied any link with serving Senator Ali Ndume who is facing trial in Abuja for allegedly being a sponsor of the sect.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has described as unfortunate, alleged involvement of Senator Ndume in activities of the Islamic sect just as Ndume’s supporters have called for his immediate release.
Senator Ndume was arraigned at an Abuja Magistrate Court, Tuesday, on a two-count charge of terrorism following the confessions of former spokesman of the sect, Ali Konduga, a.k.a Usman Al- Zawahiri, that the senator was one of their sponsors.
Denying any link with the senator, yesterday, the sect said that on no occasion did it fraternize with any politician in its battle to islamize Nigeria, noting that very soon all political offices of the PDP, ANPP, CPC, among others from the federal, state, local governments and ward levels in the country would be their next targets of attack.
Spokesman of Boko Haram, Abdul Qaqa, who addressed a press briefing at the Buba Marwa press centre in Maiduguri said the group, which ideology was to ensure strict implementation of Sharia Law in the country was “ever ready to fight the battle to a finish,” saying that it was shocked to read on the pages of newspapers that Senator Ali Ndume was one of their principal sponsors.
Qaqa said their sponsor was no any other person than Allah, (God), noting that already, they have warned the public to ignore Al-zawahiri, who he claimed was not a member of the Boko Haram sect, but an agent of the SSS and the government.
His words: “Please I want you the media to tell Nigerians, particularly those who are tenants in the houses of politicians with political flags, posters, to vacate such houses or remove such inscriptions irrespective of whichever political party, as when we strike all those places would be part of our targets. All these places mentioned would not be spared. I am giving this strong warning for people to desist from any political patronage, and their buildings because, we don’t want to kill innocent souls when we struck, and Inshallahu, we are going to do it very soon and succeed.”
Qaqa stressed that Al-zawahiri, was a member of a group of political thugs called ECOMOG during the Ali Sheriff-led government, and that he (Alzawahiri) had no any linkage with Boko Haram as far as the group was concerned.
Alleged involvement of Senator Ndume, unfortunate—Jonathan
Meanwhile President Goodluck Jonathan has described as unfortunate, the alleged involvement and sponsorship of Boko Haram, by serving top politicians, such as Senator Ali Ndume, saying that all those behind the criminalization and politicisation of what started as a religious group would be made to face the wrath of the law.
The President spoke as fresh facts emerged that there could be more arrests of top political office holders in the weeks ahead, following what top security operatives described as conclusion of evidence and intelligence gathering on the alleged link between the group and key sponsors.
Declaring open the biennial Honorary International Investors Council Meeting, HIIC, in Paris, France, in his capacity as chairman of the council, the President said with the renewed vigour by Nigerian security agencies to curb the menace of the Boko Haram, its existence in the country would soon be history.
Rising security challenges
A member of the HIICM and French oil giant, Total Nigeria Limited, in a show of confidence on the ability of the Federal Government to tackle the rising security challenges posed by Boko Haram, said it has shored up its investment portfolio in Nigeria to $2 billion (about N300 billion) with plans to invest another $2 billion into the economy by next year; bringing its total risk in the country to $4 billion (about N600 billion).
President Jonathan expressed deep concern over the hijack of Boko Haram by prominent politicians in Nigeria for selfish but criminal reasons, saying that it was to avoid blackmail against the Federal Government that very few politicians have so far been arrested; otherwise more of them would have been facing trials.
He said: “There must be concrete evidence before you make an arrest to avoid blackmail of the government because when very senior politicians are involved such as a distinguished senator one must get his facts right. Unfortunately, a serving senator, a distinguished senator is one of the suspects.”
The president, however, assured members of the council and the international community that he was on top of the security situation in the country, and that shortly the tide of the sect would be stemmed.
We are solidly behind our son
— Borno South Senatorial District
In a related development, a group from Southern Borno Senatorial District, in their hundreds besieged the NUJ House in Maiduguri in a show of solidarity with Senator Ndume.
Briefing newsmen, the leader of the group, Mr. Ibrahim Makeri, condemned the allegations levelled against Senator Ndume stressing that “all those allegations were unsubstantiated, untrue, and contained classical set-up and contradictions” adding that he was unfairly subjected to trial by the SSS and the media.
Makeri said: “It is shocking that when the SSS in Abuja invited the serving senator, he (Ndume), honoured the invitation, but has been detained since then. And when members of his family, lawyers and some senators were waiting to see him on the 22nd of this month at his place of detention, the senator was bundled out of the SSS office and taken to court without their knowledge, to the effect that the senator was then charged before a Magistrate Court where a live television broadcast was being transmitted.”
The group described Ndume as “humble, honest, kind and law abiding citizen, who will not be a member of any organization or group against the laws of the land”, pointing out that “what is now happening to the senator is not criminal accusation, but a political blasphemy, masterminded by a cartel.”
Makeri added: “As members of his constituency, the Borno South Senatorial District, we are strongly behind him and support all his good positions”. The group, therefore, declared that the battle line has been drawn between those who want to silence him and the group.
It, however, thanked members of the National Assembly, general public, supporters and admirers of Senator Ndume who have shown concern through phone calls, text messages and personal visit, and urged them to remain calm and continue to be law abiding like their leader, as the matter is now before the court of law.