Rep Ibrahim Babangida Mahuta is the member representing Kafur/Malumfashi Federal Constituency of Katsina State. Recently, he was reportedly attacked by youths in Masari town during the wedding of the daughter of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Bello Masari.
In this interview, he explained what happened and claimed that somebody may be making effort to take his life. Excerpts:
There were reports that some youths attacked you in Masari town while you were attending the wedding of the daughter of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari. What really happened?
What happened was that the wedding Fatiha was supposed to take place in the Central Mosque. We arrived around 1:30 p.m. We went straight to the mosque, completed the wedding Fatiha and proceeded to the former Speaker's house for a reception.
After the reception, while we were inside the sitting room, somebody came and told me that some people, who were organized outside, were shouting that I shouldn't go outside. I said I didn't owe anybody. Why shouldn't I go out? Luckily enough, a lot of our supporters were also outside the residence of the former Speaker.
When I came out, they were shouting. But I was completely covered and protected by our supporters. They were shouting "ba mu so, ba mu so" (we don't want, we don't want). Some of them threw stones. But what surprised me was that as we continued moving, some of them started bringing out knives, cutlasses and whatever.
We noticed that the whole thing was taking another dimension. Publicly in front of all the guests that were there, they started bringing out knives. So, we thought they had a different mission. Unfortunately for them, the security men around fired gunshots into the air to scare them away because of their persistence.
I was taken away by the police in their vehicle. They took me outside Kafur, some few kilometres towards Zaria road. That was where my friend came to meet me and we left the place. That was exactly what happened.
But the way the event was reported in various media, both electronic and prints, I was surprised because none of them made any attempt to contact me or any other person within the constituency for them to balance their reports. That is why I said I have to clarify some of the publications that were made.
Your critics said you were attacked for non-performance. Is this true?
Some people are talking about non-performance. But everybody can attest to the level of our contributions at the National Assembly not only to the development of our constituencies but also to the development of the nation as a whole.
The records are there. In 2012, in spite of the fact that there were a lot of complaints with regards to the non-implementation of members' constituencies' projects, I had more than 95 percent implementation of my constituency projects. It was the first time in the history of my constituency that in one single year, I sank over 80 boreholes in addition to other empowerment programmes that were carried out in the constituency. Everybody can go and see the facts.
I believe some people have an agenda. I went through litigation for over two years. Unfortunately for them, in all cases - I had over nine judgments and rulings - all of them were in my favour. It is because of the level of my performance that some people are trying to discredit me so that it will give them an avenue to take over in 2015.
What is important is that the people I am representing are aware of what I am doing, and they appreciate that. I believe they have the records of what I have been doing at the National Assembly.
It was reported that the youth were also angry because you never visited them for the two years that you have been representing them. How will you react to this?
It is not that the youth are angry; somebody is just using them. I am aware that several meetings were held even before and on the day of the wedding Fatiha. We have evidence. People are ready to come out and confess. Somebody told us that he was invited and given N30, 000 to participate, but he refused. He is ready to testify.
I am handling the matter legally so that it will be a deterrent to any other person who may want to do similar thing to another person. If you're representing your people, and you want to run an empowerment programme, there has to be priority. I am not an institution or government. So, the little resources I have, there should be priority. But some people thought I have to do everything at the same time. Or why should I do to Mr A and refuse to do to Mr B?
Were you previously attacked during the constitutional review session?
It is a lie. I was never attacked during the public session on the constitutional review. In fact, my session was one of the best. The video is there for anybody that cares to watch it. They're only concocting lies against me for political reasons.
I didn't even take Panadol for last attack. As you can see me now, anybody who is injured, three days after, there has to be at least a mark on his face. They only threw stones and mud. As I said, because the majority of the people around were my supporters, they couldn't do anything.
If they had their way, they would have killed me. If I were in the minority in that particular place, I would have been killed. All the guests there were just onlookers. Nobody made any attempt apart from the security men. So, all these are just rumours. Somebody said I was hospitalized, and someone called me and asked which hospital I was. And I said I was even driving by then.
As you can see me physically from head to toe, is there anything wrong with me? People are just exaggerating. Unfortunately, after the event took place, some people were taking advantage of the situation to do other things against me.
In recent times, apart from the case of Rivers, there was no case that has been so publicized in both print and electronic media like this one. Am I the first person that was stoned? Why is my own case different? I was actually attacked. There is no doubt about it. Whoever carries a knife and moves toward you, his aim is to kill you. That is why I have already petitioned the commissioner of police. They have to go and investigate it thoroughly because somebody is after my life.
I remember about a year ago during our litigation, some people came to my residence, about seven of them, in the middle of the night, but they didn't take anything. Fortunately for me, I had to call one of my friends who is a member of the State Security Service. So, that was how I was rescued. There have been many attempts. This is really serious. We are insisting that this thing should be investigated because very soon campaigns will start. And if it is allowed to go like this, it is not about me but about whoever is going to contest election.
Are you planning to run for second term?
Naturally yes, because I've tried as much as possible to put in my best in my constituency and to do the best I can do for Nigeria as a member of the National Assembly. So, if I don't come back to the House, I don't think I'll be fair to my country. But if along the line, the people decide that they have somebody that they think can represent them, that is democracy. By the grace of God, I am coming back to the National Assembly for second term despite all these digression and hostility.
Are you suspecting some politicians as the brain behind your plight?
Yes, I have somebody specifically I have mentioned his name in my petition to the Commissioner of Police. We have the names of the people who were invited and given N30,000, but they declined. They will present themselves as witnesses if need be. We know what happened. We know the man behind it. We're going to take it to a logical conclusion. That is why my petition was very clear. The heading is 'Complaint and Attempted Murder'.
What did Masari, your host tell you that day after the attack?
Sincerely speaking, we've not been able to communicate since then. A day before the wedding, I was with him. I have a good rapport with him. Sometimes in situations like this, you don't even know what to tell somebody. I was particularly informed that he was angry and left immediately. After the incident, I don't think if anybody stayed up to ten minutes.
Were they afraid of what might happen to them?
No, no! The whole thing was targeted at me and not anybody else. It was a planned thing. Nobody was at risk. I went to the mosque and trekked about one kilometre to Masari's house. But it was when we were at his residence that they did the mobilization.