By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Borno State Government has pointed accusing fingers at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as being behind the problem of Boko Haram in the state, alleging that all those killed so far were members and chieftains of All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.
The state government said ANPP officials were killed in the guise of Boko Haram attacks, just as it expressed dismay that President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, ministers and other top government officials had never visited the state since the activities of Boko Haram started because Borno State was controlled by an opposition party.
Meanwhile, the PDP national leadership has called on opposition political parties to come out and tell Nigerians if they were causing violence in the country because they want the party (PDP) out of power.
Reacting to the accusations by the Borno State Government, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, warned the opposition against playing politics with lives.
He said: “PDP has always refrained from playing politics with issues concerning loss of lives. We believe that every Nigerian irrespective of political affiliation, religion, ethnicity has right to life.
“We want the opposition to publicly tell us if they want us to quit on account of violence in the North. They should be bold enough to tell us and the world whether they are causing violence because they want PDP out of power,” he added.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, weekend, Borno State Commissioner for Information, Home Affairs, and Culture, Inuwa Bwala, expressed fears over the proposed dialogue between Federal Government and Boko Haram, arguing that it was difficult to tell if the demand for dialogue was actually from Boko Haram or from other people who want to use the Islamic sect as an alibi.
It will be recalled that since the activities of the sect started, many have been killed, property worth billions of Naira destroyed.
Bwala, who noted that some people have been sponsoring assassinations and wreaking havoc in the state using Boko Haram as cover up, said, “greater number of some of these things is political and that is why greater number of people killed are from ANPP, including Thursday’s killing of somebody, who converted from PDP to ANPP. General Mamma Shuwa is a member ANPP, I can continue to give names. All of them are from the ANPP. All these people being killed are from the ANPP, there is no single PDP member that has been killed till date.
“Even if it were a coincidence, we strongly believe that this thing has serious political undertones. Politicians find in Boko Haram perfect alibi to commit all sorts of crimes. Armed robbers find Boko Haram a perfect alibi to loot and attack banks. Businessmen, who have disagreement with their business partners find Boko Haram a perfect alibi to unleash terror on their business partners. To the effect that you cannot clearly define in this configuration, which one is a Boko Haram and which one is not.
“Having known ab-initio that the hostility against Borno State Government and against ANPP in Borno was to either undermine us or even dislodge us, we are not surprised that very often, some people go to the press to cause mischief. We want to call on such people to stop playing politics with this serious issue that we found ourselves in Borno State and come on board and give us solid solution on how we can resolve these things. Our doors are open.
“Even this demand for ceasefire, as much as we are very enthusiastic towards it, as much as it sounds very good, we still have our suspicions because he who comes to equity, must do so with clean hands. You have stated your terms, allowed the Federal Government or whoever it is to produce who they feel will adequately represent them, because the mention of names as possible negotiators will have far reaching implications and because of fear of such implications, that is why some of them are opting out.
“I agree that those who have been named so far as possible negotiators are very credible Nigerians, but then, one cannot tell that this demand is actually from Boko Haram or from some other people who want to use Boko Haram as an alibi, because Boko Haram has a modus operadi, one of which in the background of any of their conferences, you see a display of Arabic inscriptions, which is what they believe in. And part of their principal demand, which had been for the implementation of Sharia in some states, even across the federation is missing in the last conference for ceasefire. Boko Haram openly addressed in Hausa, but both the last two addresses were in English. Sometimes when we begin to read in between lines, you find it very difficult to understand which one is really coming from the real Boko Haram or whether it is from other sources, so doubt has already been cast on that one.
“As a government, we believe in dialogue, whoever comes to us for dialogue, so be it, even if it is coming from those who are not actually Boko Haram, of course we will embrace it because we don’t want our people to be killed any further.”
On refusal of Jonathan, Sambo, Mark and others to visit Borno State, Bwala said: “I want to be fair to the President, Vice President, Senate President, the Speaker and all other Federal Government officials for failing to come to Borno State. I will never justify their actions because Borno is part and parcel of Nigeria. Incidents of less intensity had happened in other places and they were there and had assisted them. Because the problem persists in Borno State, that does not distort the fact that we are part and parcel of Nigeria; we are entitled to privileges to every Nigerian no matter the situation.
“If as a child they think it’s our own behaviour that is causing this problem, you do not throw away the baby with the bath water. Mr. President would have shown concern even for political reasons to visit us and so our impression is that we are being given this treatment because we are in an opposition political party, otherwise we expect the President or at least the Vice President to have gone there and shown sympathy with the plight of our people.
“For even the Senate President and the Speaker, all Northerners, as I speak to you except for different missions, we have not received a Federal Government official from level of a minister to assess the situation and advise the government on what needs to be done in the Borno situation and so, we feel sad that our President has not visited us, but we are hoping that someday, he will find reason to come over.
Some of ANPP chieftains that have been killed include Awana Ngala, Chairman ANPP and cousin to Ali Sheriff; Alhaji Modu Gubio, ANPP gubernatorial candidate also a cousin to Ali Sheriff; Alhaji Goni Sheriff, younger brother to Sen. Ali Sheriff; Alhaji Lawan Yarayi, former Chairman Kukawa Local Government Area; Alhaji Lawan Kabu, former Chairman Damboa Local Government Area and Alhaji Kadiri Kaza, former Chairman Mongumo Local Government Area.
Others include Alhaji B.K also former Chairman Monguno council; Hajiya Bayayi, female Councilor Maiduguri Metropolitan; Audu Ali (Datti) Councilor Mai Sandari Maiduguri Metropolitan; Alhaji Mustapha Fulawa, a close friend of Sheriff; Alhaji Bukar Goni Kolo, a close friend of Sheriff; Engr. Isa Ngaram, General Manager Borno Housing Corporation; Mrs Zannah Gana, Commissioner for Justice; Gen. Mamman Shuwa, ANPP Board of Trustees, and party elder.