Airforce lied against me – Senator Ndume

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Chairman, Senate Committee on the Millennium Development Goals, Senator Ali Ndume, has raised the alarm that his life was under serious threats from some people who he refused to mention.

Ndume who stated this while addressing journalists at the National Assembly in Abuja also faulted claims by the Nigerian Air force which claimed that it was not its aircraft that threw the bombs at his convoy on Saturday.

Ndume who described the air force denial as a lie, also claimed that one of the shells of the four bombs detonated at his convoy was in his house in Maiduguri.

Ndume said that he was in Pulka to reconcile the Muslim and Christian communities who had engaged each other in constant clashes that had led to the death of seven people and destruction of property, when the incident happened.

He noted that the Nigerian Army had commiserated with him following the unfortunate incident and expressed regret that rather than accept that its men committed an operational blunder, the Nigerian Air Force, came up with a denial of the incident.

“The statement credited to the Air Force spokesman was highly unfortunate. It is a lie against me because immediately the incident happened nobody could reach me on phone.

“There was a lot of panicking in Maiduguri and Bornu but the Pulka people were able to communicate with them. So many people including my wife thought I was dead. The attack was to me, a professional blunder.

“I am surprised that some people will allege that I, a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will tell a lie of what happened. My case was not the first in the series of the professional blunders being committed by the military in the fight against insurgency.

“Four bombs were dropped by the fighter jet and we picked the shells. I have one in my house in Maiduguri. I only didn’t bring it because I came by air and I didn’t want to them say he has brought a bomb on the aircraft again.

“I left it in my house because from the way they are talking now, they would have easily said something else against me. The people of Pulka collected the remaining three shells and pleaded with me that they want to keep it for records purposes.

“So where did I get the shells? I showed it to journalists in Maiduguri so how can somebody say nothing happened?Except if they are telling us that a foreign fighter jet came into Nigerian territory and dropped four bombs on the convoy of a Nigerian Senator.

“A police officer was shot in the hand during a military patrol. If the bombs had hit me and I am dead by now the air force would have denied throwing the bomb.

“Initially I thought it was the Boko Haram that planted the bombs on the highway targeting me because there was a couple of people waving at us by the roadside we thought the boys were the ones detonating the bombs until when a military personnel in our convoy told us that the bombs were coming from the air force aircraft that we then run for dear lives.”

Ndume explained that he was on a visit to his constituency which was his practice,  was to maintain peace and halt the mass exodus of his people to Cameroon.

He said the intensity of the insurgency there had made most of the inhabitants there to relocate to Cameroon and become refugees there.

He explained that there was a time when the insurgents attacked a church in the area which led to a discord between the Christians and Muslims in the area.

“Before Christmas,  Christians retaliated by burning down a mosque. The situation almost degenerated into a war situation between the Christians in Goshe and the Muslims. There were loss of lives, seven people died, hence there was the deployment of troops to the area.

“As a leader in the community,  I was called upon to initiate reconciliation between the Christians and Muslim communities and that was my mission to the area on Saturday,” Ndume said.

“The people in the town saw the aircraft unless they are trying to tell us that it is not a Nigerian airforce aircraft.“On Saturday night,  I sent a text to both the Chief of Army Staff  and the Chief of Air Staff,  immediately,  the Chief of Army Staff responded. I said my brother, my convoy was mistakenly hit by a bomb. Thank God nobody was hurt. He said hope I was okay and I said yes.

“Uptill now, nobody from the air force came to see me to ask me whether I was hurt or not. I am not a liar, it is the person that denied the incident that is a liar.”

He added that the senate president called him on Sunday, and pledged that the senate will do something when it resumed plenary.

“I had expected the air force to accept that they made a mistake. If Senator Ndume was lucky, a policeman who lost his hand was not lucky.,” he added.

“Let me say here, for the first time, that there are certain threats to my life, but I never told any of you. I have not even shared it with my family. I believe that nobody can kill me except its ordained by God.

“I  won’t link the threats to what happened last weekend. There are criminals cashing in on the situation, we have politicians cashing in on the situation and there is the real insurgents.”

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