This Day (Lagos)

24 October 2012

Nigeria: Defence HQ - Senator Zanna Has Case to Answer

Photo: Vanguard
Senator Ahmad Zanna of Borno Central and former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff.

The Defence Headquarters Tuesday took up issues with the embattled Senator Ahmad Zanna, representing Borno Central Senatorial District, who is under interrogation for his alleged links with Boko Haram, insisting he has a case to answer.

It was also learnt that Zanna, who was expected to return to the headquarters of the State Security Service (SSS) by 11 am yesterday for further interrogation, did not show up until about 6.30 pm.

He explained to the security agents that he was late because he was not feeling well and had to seek medical attention.

However, he was cautioned and asked to go home to report back today at 11am, as the SSS does not handle interrogations at night.

Director of Defence Information (DDI), Col. Muhammed Yerima, told THISDAY Tuesday in Abuja that Zanna has a case to answer having admitted that a Boko Haram commander, Shuaibu Bama, arrested in Maiduguri last Friday, is his nephew and had always visited him.

Zanna, who had accused the Joint Task Force (JTF) deployed in the North-east, especially Borno State, to fight Boko Haram insurgency, of engaging in indiscriminate killings, said the JTF distorted the facts of Bama's arrest.

According to him, Bama was arrested in the home of former Borno State Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and renewed his call for the withdrawal of troops from the North-east, accusing the JTF of indiscriminate killing of people.

However, Yerima challenged Zanna to prove his allegation of indiscriminate killings by JTF.

He described Zanna's allegations as unverifiable, baseless and unfounded, adding: "What indiscriminate killings is he (Zanna) talking about? Can he substantiate it with facts? Didn't he admit that the Boko Haram member is his nephew?"

On Zanna's allegation that the JTF was colluding with Sheriff, Yerima said: "I don't know what he is talking about. I assure you that if tomorrow we find anything incriminatory about Sheriff, we will not fail to arrest him."

Zanna and Sheriff have been trading accusations since the JTF announced Bama's arrest.

Although the JTF did not mention the name of the senator when it arrested Bama, Zanna, who acknowledged him as his nephew, said contrary to the JTF's claim, the Boko Haram chief was arrested in Sheriff's house, adding that the former governor was acting in collusion with the JTF to rope him in.

Zanna of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated Sheriff, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, who contested to represent the senatorial district in the last general election.

He had told reporters on Monday before he left for the SSS headquarters to answer to the allegation against him that he has links to Boko Haram, that Bama was arrested in Sheriff's house and not his.

Zanna also said that he was willing to lead a Federal Government delegation to open talks with the sectarian group, if only it would help to end the insecurity in the country.

He blamed Sheriff for his travails, saying the former governor had not forgiven him since he defeated him in the last senatorial election.

He had also called for the immediate withdrawal of the JTF troops from Borno State.

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InFocus

Nigerian Senator Quizzed Over Boko Haram Links

Senator Ahmad Zanna of Borno Central and former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff.

Security operatives say Senator Ahmad Zanna, representing Borno Central Senatorial District, who is under interrogation for his alleged links with Boko Haram, has a case to answer. Read more »