The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Sunday escaped what could have been a bloody attack on his convoy by suspected thugs in Maiduguri, the state capital.
Mr. Shettima was driving around the metropolis when suspected hoodlums waylaid and smashed some of the cars in his convoy.
Witnesses said the governor was attacked at a place popularly called Old UTC, which is located near the Peoples Democratic Party’s campaign office.
“The convoy of the governor came under attack at the Old UTC near the PDP campaign office which was burnt down during the All Progressives Congress presidential rally on Monday last week,” a witness, Samaila Sabo, said,
“As usual when the governor is passing-by, most of us rushed to the roadside expecting that he might throw some money for us. But when we did that on Sunday, some boys in front of UTC began to run towards Kashim Ibrahim Way throwing stones and using clubs to smash vehicles in the convoy.”
“We had to rush back as security agents in the convoy began to shoot sporadically. I think they attacked the governor in retaliation for the burning of their office last week,” another witness at a local cap-washing shop said.
The governor’s spokesperson, Isa Gusau, in a statement, accused the former governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, of being the mastermind of the attack on Mr. Shettima’s convoy.
Mr. Gusau, who also said the state’s APC Chairman, Ali Dalori, witnessed the assault on Mr. Shettima alleged that the attack was planned and endorsed by the former governor.
“The governor was driving past Kashim Ibrahim Way after going round different hospitals in the state capital to offer support to patients when his convoy was attacked while returning to the Government House located at the G.R.A,” Mr. Gusau said.
“The thugs came out from a campaign office belonging to Sheriff and soon after the governor’s official vehicle passed, the thugs went after other vehicles in the convoy, smashing the windscreens.
“The governor, however, ordered his security details not to use fire arms or any form of assault in order not to heighten tension in the state and compromise ongoing counter insurgency operations.”
Mr. Gusau said about 10 vehicles in the governor’s convoy were smashed by the thugs and called on Mr. Sherif to call the youth to order, warning that the APC-led government in the state would take every lawful steps to ensure that peace prevailed in the state.
“Whether he likes it or not, his era has passed in Borno State. Nothing can change that history ‘Insha Allah’,” Mr. Gusau said.
“We call on the Federal Government to call SAS to order. If he is above the law, the FG should tell us but we will not be lawless and we will not allow him have his way.”
But the Media Director to the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Inuwa Bwala, denied the allegation, saying the youth who attacked Mr. Shettima might be thugs owed money for the contract the APC gave them to attack PDP offices during Mr. Buhari’s visit to the state.
Mr. Bwala, who is also the spokesman to Mr. Sheriff, said nether he nor his principal was in Maiduguri when the alleged attack took place.
He said, “We believe those who attacked Governor Shettima were the APC thugs that were denied payment of their contract agreement to destroy and burn down PDP offices in the state during General Mohammed Buhari’s visit on Monday.
“It was on record that during that APC rally where their presidential candidate visited Maiduguri and could not address his supporters, some APC thugs, despite the tight security, were personally led by Governor Shettima’s aides to burn down many PDP campaign offices including that of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.
“The same thugs used by the APC government were the ones who attacked him for failing to settle the contract for their act of political violence.
“What is happening in Borno State now is a reaction to the balance of terror. We, therefore, called on the security agencies to be up to their responsibilities to ensure that Governor Shettima and his people are called to order”.