The car bomb explosion that ripped through the Northeast city of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Tuesday, was not from the Boko Haram sect but a deliberate act of arson targeted at former Governor of the state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, his aide said last night.
Chairman, SAS campaign organisation in Borno State, Malam Bako Bunu, said in a statement that the fact that Sheriffsâ€™ property at the old UTC was also targeted was a clear indication that the former governor was the prime target.
Bunu hinged his argument on the fact that prior to Sheriffâ€™s visit on Sunday, there had been no bomb incident in Maiduguri for the past 11 months, adding that the development also lent credence to the suspicion that the sustained opposition against the former governorâ€™s visit was a calculated move to stop him.
â€œIt is sad that vehicles bearing Ali Sheriffâ€™s posters were either vandalised or burnt which further points to the fact that Sheriff was the actual targetâ€, Bunu said.
According to Malam 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.
â€œIt 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.
â€œWe 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 operativesâ€, Bunu noted.