Former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff yesterday alleged that the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chapter “is the engine room ofBoko Haram”.
He also alleged that Senator Ahmed Khalifa Zanna, who is undergoing interrogation after a suspected Boko Haram Commander was arrested, allegedly in his house, engaged in terrorism.
Sheriff, who was also a Senator, has been exchanging accusations with Zanna over the arrest of suspected Boko Haram Commander Shuaib Bama.
Sheriff denied being an accomplice of terrorism urged the State Security Service (SSS) to intensify its interrogation of Zanna.
Borno State, along with neighbouring Yobe, is the hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Sheriff spoke in a statement by his Special Assistant, Umar Duhu.
He said: “It is common knowledge in Borno State that Senator Zanna takes along some hapless Nigerians on a seeming religious voyage by road only to put some of them into terrorist activity and illegal arms importation.
“Some of the so-called pilgrims by road have been traced to terrorists’ camps in Afghanistan and Syria, and not Saudi Arabia, their preferred destination. It is very much on record that 27 of such pilgrims are still missing till date.
“Senator Zanna’s inconsistencies in trying to defend himself are clear indication of a sinking man’s desperate attempt to hang himself on anything available in order to save his neck. If not so, what would his nephew be doing in the so-called house of Senator Ali Sheriff, the man he said is his political rival?
“Contrary to his claims in the media that he had parted ways with the suspect, we can authoritatively confirm that his nephew, Shuaibu, was still his associate up to the time of his arrest.
“It is an act in futility for him to try to name Ali Sheriff as an accomplice in his nefarious activity with Boko Haram, knowing full well that the wild allegations being levelled by him will never amount to an acquittal of his guilt.”
Sheriff raised some posers for Zanna, which he also asked security agencies to look into.
He added: “The one million dollar question is why has Senator Zanna never spoken against the atrocities being committed by Boko Haram; rather, he has been calling for the declaration of state of emergency or the disbandment of the Joint Task Force (JTF) which he knew are antithetical to the quest for peace.
“Again, being the second senator fingered as having links with Boko Haram, it is a confirmation of the wildly believed theory that the PDP in Borno State is the engine room behind Boko Haram.
“At his age and with the position he holds as a senator of the Federal Republic, we felt it is the height of un-patriotisms and irresponsibility for Senator Ahmed Zanna to not only fuel the crisis in Borno, but to attempt to drag the names of decent citizens, like Ali Sheriff, in the mud.
“We know that since his inauguration, Senator Ahmed Zanna, who has visited neither Borno nor his constituency, even for once can afford to play politics with the serious issue at stake by sponsoring terrorism against his own people.
“On this note, we want to call on the relevant security authorities to fully investigate the incident and Senator Zanna’s possible links with Boko Haram, and also his Hajj-by-road activities for which he was suspected to have used as a façade for the importation of arms and window for the training of terrorists.
“It is on record that the Joint Task Force in Maiduguri had on Friday 19th October, 2012 announced the arrest of one Shuaibu Muhammed Bama in the house of a serving Senator along Damboa Road, GRA, Maiduguri.
“It is on record that shortly after the JTF announcement, Senator Ahmed, who represents Borno Central, came out publicly in a BBC Hausa Service interview to own up that he is the only senator whose house is along Damboa Road; he also went ahead to admit that the arrested suspect is his nephew and lives with him in his house.
“It is also on record that the State Security Service has invited Senator Zanna to clarify his involvement with the suspect and his links with Boko Haram.
“Senator Zanna, in a comic u-turn, shortly after these developments, told journalists in a face-saving interview that while he could not deny his relationship with his nephew, he disowned his house where the JTF arrested the suspect, stressing that the house belongs to Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, the immediate past former governor of Borno State.
“Given his recent political encounter with the immediate past governor, now the BOT chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, he appears desperate to settle scores by dragging Ali Sheriff into the controversy.
“It is laughable that instead of defending his obvious involvement with Boko Haram, given his antecedence where people finger him as an illegal importer of arms via his Hajj-by-road fame, Senator Zanna is desperately looking for somebody to hang for his sins.”