A revelation by a member of the National Conference that he had received a threat message from terrorists caused a scare at the confab on Monday.
The delegate, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), told the conference that he received a message on his telephone threatening an “attack bigger than Nyanya blast” and sought the permission of the Chairman of the confab, Justice Idris Kutigi (retd.), to read the message.
Kutigi granted the permission and Ozekhome accordingly read the text.
The message, which Ozekhome also forwarded to our correspondent later, read, “News got to us that our enemy is planning something bigger than Nyanya blast between Tuesday and Wednesday, in Abuja. Mind your movement and be careful. The date is still unknown. Please, pass it around to save loved ones.”
After listening to the text of the message, one of the delegates, who asked not to be named, shouted, “We are in trouble in this country. Bombing everywhere; when will this stop? Even here, we don’t know what is going to happen. Things are so bad in the country. Things are so bad.”
Many of the delegates were seeing discussing the development in hushed tones but with panic on their faces.
None of them was willing to speak with The PUNCH on the matter on Monday.
Another delegate, Obi Onoliefo, had on Thursday last week, raised the issue of safety of delegates when, having looked at the perimeter of the National Judicial Institute, observed that there were no security operatives manning them.
Onoliefo, therefore, called for security operatives to be drafted to the perimeter fences to forestall insurgents from breaking into the premises and causing bloodshed.
Meanwhile, some hoodlums suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect invaded the Shani Local Government Area of Borno State on Monday and torched the Divisional Police Station, houses and shops.
It was learnt that the insurgents used Improvised Explosive Devices and petrol bombs.
The Caretaker Chairman of the council, Alhaji Modu Walama, who was said to have escaped a series of attacks by assassins and terrorists in recent past, narrowly escaped being killed by the terrorists.
The insurgents were said to have attacked the family house of Walama in Walama and killed one of his sons.
One of our correspondents learnt that the terrorists invaded Shani on motorcycles and bombed the divisional police headquarters at about 2:45pm on Monday.
The policemen on duty had fled before the attackers reached the station.
They were said to have snatched one of the patrol vehicles belonging to the police and set it ablaze after they discovered that the vehicle’s engine was faulty.
The gunmen reportedly moved from the police station into the town and shot sporadically before fleeing towards the Gwaskara village.
Shani is the southern part of the troubled Borno State and about 245 kilometres drive from Maiduguri, the state capital. It shares boundary with some parts of Adamawa State.
A resident of Shani, Mallam Aliyu Usman, who was among those who fled the town during the attack, told journalists that they got news of the terrorists lurking around the town at about 8am.
He said some women sighted the criminals on their farmlands around Walama, on the outskirts of the town.
The terrorists were said to have scared the women off their farms, telling them that they had a deadly mission to execute in some places in Shani.
All efforts to get the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Gideon Jubrin, for confirmation was not successful as his phone line was inaccessible as of the time of filing this report.