The bomb blast that rocked Maiduguri, the Borno state capital on Tuesday, was not from the dreaded Islamist Boko Haram sect but an act of arson targeted at former governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff who was in the state for a condolence visit.
However, a BBC Hausa service monitored on Wednesday revealed that the fresh explosion which erupted in the heart of Maiduguri on Tuesday which killed many people are a handiwork of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.
Chairman, SAS campaign organization in Borno State, Mallam Bako Bunu said in a statement made available to newsmen that the fact that Sheriffs’ property at the old UTC was also targeted after the blast was a clear indication that the former governor was the prime target.
Our correspondent observed that both Campaign offices of Governor Kashim Shettima and that of his predecessor, Ali Modu Sheriff which fell under target by mobs after the blast remained sealed on Wednesday by security operatives to prevent further breakdown of law and order.
Bunu insisted that the fact that there had been no bomb incident in Maiduguri for the past 11 months until the former governor visited also gives the impression that the sustained opposition against his visit was a calculated move to stop him.
“It is sad that vehicles bearing Ali Sheriff’s posters were either vandalized or burnt which further points to the fact that Sheriff was the actual target,” Bunu said.
According to Mallam Bunu, the bomb which killed about 19 people was the handiwork of a former chairman of the Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and another highly placed official of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) who has always been suspected to be the brains behind violent activities in Maiduguri.
“It is an open secret that out of desperation to gain political control of Borno state and out of fear of the growing relevance of Ali Sheriff politically, a group of people has been hiding behind the current insecurity in the state to stop his visit.
“We are aware that the Boko Haram incident was used as an alibi for some people to perpetrate mayhem and distract the attention of the security operatives,” Bunu noted.
“We consider it even childish that highly placed government officials can condescend so low as to instigate thugs against their leaders.
“It is a pity that upon all the good things Sheriff did for Borno state; his reward has been to instigate public anger against him and attempt to link him with terrorist activities.” Bunu noted.