Borno legislator escapes assassination attempt, seven suspects arrested
A LEGISLATOR in the National Assembly, representing Chibok/Gwoza/Damboa Federal Constituency in Borno State, Mr. Peter Biye Gumtha recently escaped death, when seven suspected members of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) allegedly stormed Greenland Hotel, Maiduguri to assassinate him around 7.45p.m., but he was not there.
According to a security guard, who wanted his name off-print, the suspects burst into the hotel as guests and requested to meet a prominent politician that checked into the hotel in the afternoon to discuss how People’s Democratic Party (PDP) would win the 2015 elections in the state.
“There was confusion and apprehension among our guests, when the boys started to beat some of the people that wanted to see the legislator in one of our executive duplex rooms.
As we alerted the police for intervention, soldiers rushed to the hotel, 15 minutes after beating up some of the legislator’s guests waiting in the parlour. They arrested the suspects and whisked them away that night.”
On their motive for wanting to see the legislator, the security guard said: “The seven civilian JTF came, introduced themselves and said they were sent on errand to kill the lawmaker, demanding for his whereabouts. When we refused to give out any reasonable answer, the youths poured cold water on the guests and started beating them thoroughly; before one of them escaped and went out to call the military men nearby on duty stationed at the Circular Road Junction.”
He further disclosed: “The soldiers came on time, luckily met the youths in action and arrested them. They were taken straight to Giwa barracks for further interrogation and investigation. They claimed that they were members of CJTF sent on an errand to kill the legislator.”
It was also learnt that Mr. Gumtha had last year defected from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) to People’s Democratic Party (PDP) along with former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, some members of Borno State House of Assembly and a dozen commissioners of the Kashim Shettima administration.
Confirming the incident yesterday in Maiduguri, a military source, who was not authorised to speak on the arrest of the suspects, said: “The suspects are in our custody for further investigations on their claims and their motive behind the attempted assassination of the lawmaker.”
He added: “The suspects also alleged that they were sent by Governor Shettima of Borno state to assassinate the lawmaker, Mr. Biye. This was why we had to ascertain all the claims and allegations of assassinating him by the arrested suspects, before handing them to the police for prosecution in a court of law.”
However, the Borno State government yesterday denied the alleged assassination attempt on the legislator at the Maiduguri hotel.
The Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Mohammed Bulama, in a text message to The Guardian said: “It’s a lie, and the work of fifth columnists. Governor Kashim Shettima neither believes in, nor promotes violence in Borno State. Besides, given the massive and unprecedented support for APC that Shettima and his government enjoy in the state, we have no reason to resort to violence.”