When Senator Nuhu Aliyu said the National Assembly was made of rogues and some people who he had arrested and detained as a police officer years ago, many members took offence. They demanded apologies while some dared him to mention names. Apparently in order to allow peace reign, he apologized and thereafter held his peace.
Nigerians however know the quality of the Senate they have. Though everyone is presumed innocent until proved guilty, in terms of character and transparency, the National Assembly has always been a subject of debate.
The history of the National Assembly has been replete with scandals of various types. Senate Presidents have fallen on political “banana peels” and there have been accusations and counter accusations of fraud in the past. Sponsorship of terrorism has now been added to the list.
And with Nigeria now groaning under the Boko Haram scourge, some of the things hitherto dismissed as small talks are beginning to make sense. At first there had been insinuations that the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, also called Boko Haram was purely a collection of religious extremists. Findings have however shown that the making of Boko Haram was indeed the handiwork of the political class. At the last count, three Senators, two of them currently serving have been linked with the sect.
Though the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has continually denied having any links to the dreaded sect, especially during his time as Governor, findings in some quarters have proved otherwise. Many people in Maiduguri believed that Senator Ali Modu Sherif found members of the Boko Haram sect useful during the 2007 elections in Borno State. That was also confirmed by General Jerry Useni (rtd) during a visit of the Arewa Consultative Forum to the President in 2011. Gen Useni disclosed that “I remember when I was the deputy national chairman of the ANPP, I went to Borno State to commission some projects and when we were driving along one of the major streets, I saw young boys selling petrol in jerry cans and I asked the governor why he allowed them to be selling on a major road like that, and he said, ‘no, no, leave them; they are very useful during general elections. We can use them to turn everywhere. So, it means they were used during the elections. So, that was how it all started”.
Investigations have also revealed that the group’s anger was kindled when some of the policies of the Governor who they worked for did not favour them. When things went awry between the group members, who felt used and dumped by the Governor, they moved against his government. Most of the early members of the Boko Haram sect belonged to a group known as “ECOMOG” which offered itself to politicians.
The civil disturbance of 2009 marked the beginning of war between the sect and the entire country. Though after the killing of its leader, Malam Mohammed Yusuf, the group seemed subdued, alas, it was only for a time.
The arrest of Ali Konduga, who confessed being the spokesman for the sect for some time, introduced a new phase in investigations into the sect’s activities. Konduga disclosed that the group turned against the All Nigeria Peoples Party after Sheriff dumped them and reached out to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP through the help of Late Ambassador Pindar, Nigeria’s former envoy to Sao Tome and Principe. He named Senator Ali Ndume as one of the sponsors of the sect.
Zenna was questioned by the State Security Service after Shuaibu Bama, who has been under watch on suspicion of being a Boko Haram commander. Incidentally, Bama was arrested in a house believed to be owned by the Senator.
While denying that Bama had any links with the dreaded sect, he said the suspect is his nephew who is known to be a drug addict. He said he sent him out of his house and that Bama was arrested in Ali Modu Sheriff’s house off Old Damboa Road.
He was also reported to have given the sect N 1.5 million for Sallah rams.
Zenna has disclosed that he will institute a legal action against the Attorney General of the Federation, the Minister for Defence as well as the Joint Task Force for causing him mental trauma.
That has however not stopped the police from placing him and the other two Senators under watch. It has been opined that the police should look closely at the Senate and the House of Representatives for more suspected sponsors, especially as the Boko Haram sect operates a cell structure that allows it to thrive in many states under various commanders. Incidentally, when Sani Haliru, a former Boko Haram member who claimed to have taken part in the Kaduna Riots of 1992 made some revelations about a year ago, naming some Northern leaders as being sponsors of the sect’s training in Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. It could be read using the link http://thestreetjournal.org/2012/02/revealed-how-ibb-buhari-atiku-others-sponsor-boko-haram/