By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- NATIONAL leadership of the on- going national Conference disclosed Friday that one of the delegates and Emir of Askira, His Royal Highness, Mai Abdullahi Ibn Muhammadu, the Askirama 111, made a narrow escape as hoodlums suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sct descended on him and other Emirs, with plans to take him away forcefully.
While the conference delegate was lucky as men of the Boko Haram could not bundle him away, Emirs of Uba, Ismaila Mamza and that of Gwoza, Idrisa Tinta all in Borno state were not lucky as they were abducted during the incident carried out by gun-wielding insurgents.
In a statement signed Friday by the Conference Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications, Akpandem James, “the whereabouts of the respected traditional rulers were still unknown at the time of this statement, although security agents were said to have been on the heels of the abductors.
According to James, the tragic incident occurred on Friday when hoodlums, suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, invaded the convoy of dignitaries on their way to attend the funeral of the late Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Shehu Abubakar and made attempt to violently abduct some Emirs, adding, “A member of the National Conference and Emir of Askira, His Royal Highness, Mai Abdullahi Ibn Muhammadu, the Askirama 111, made a narrow escape as the hoodlums descended on him and other Emirs.
“In response to a text message sent to him by the Deputy Chairman of the Conference, Professor Akinyemi, the Emir who was taking a deep breathe after the miraculous escape, said, “My deputy Chairman, I’m most grateful, it was a narrow escape.”
“Professor Akinyemi in a solidarity message to the Emir said, “Your Royal Majesty, on behalf of the National Conference, please accept our heartfelt relief at the failure of the attack on your convoy. We thank Allah for your safety.”
“Akinyemi who has been standing-in for the Justice Kutigi since the demise of the latter’s wife on Wednesday, expressed the joy of the delegates over the escape of the Emir and whole heartedly condemned what he described as “cowardly and dastardly attack.
“Akinyemi observed that the spirit of the 1999 Constitution which allows freedom of movement, freedom of association and freedom of lawful assembly would not be defeated by any act of terror and urged Nigerians to rise in defence of their God-given rights without any form of intimidation.”
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Conference has commiserated with former governor of Oyo State and Chairman, Committee on Energy, Senator Rashidi Ladoja over the death of his son, Adebola.
Akpandem James continued, “the National Conference on Thursday received with shock, the news of the death of Adebola, son to one of the delegates to the Conference and former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, in a car accident in Lagos.
“Adebola , whose father is the Chairman of the Conference Committee on Energy, was said to have died when a truck rammed into his Golf car while driving along the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
“Akinyemi , on behalf of the principal officers and delegates to the Conference has expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased, particularly, His Excellency, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.”
In another development, delegates to the conference will join other Nigerians on Sunday to observe the Fidau Prayers for late Maryamu, wife of Conference chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi by 10 am at Justice Kutigi’s residence along Nelson Mandela Street in Asokoro, Abuja.
The statement continued, “Delegates to the National Conference and other distinguished Nigerians on Friday continued to pay condolence visits to the Chairman of the National Conference and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigiover the death of his wife, Hajiya Maryamu.
“On Friday, the family of the deceased also announced that the Fidau Prayers for the late Maryamu will hold on Sunday by 10 am at Justice Kutigi’s residence along Nelson Mandela Street in Asokoro, Abuja.
“Maryamu , 70, passed on at the early hours of Wednesday, May 29, 2014 at the National Hospital in Abuja. She has since been buried according to Islamic rites.
“At the burial were notable Nigerians led by the Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo, principal officers and delegates to the National Conference led by the Conference Deputy Chairman and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi. President Goodluck Jonathan also visited the family house to commiserate with Justice Kutigi, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria.”