Daily Trust (Abuja)

1 September 2013

Nigeria: Day Mob Attacked Katsina Lawmaker

Katsina — Alhaji Ibrahim Babangida Mahuta is the current member of the House of Representatives representing Kafur/Malumfashi Federal Constituency of Katsina State. Mahuta was elected in 2011 on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

Rep Mahuta, Sunday Trust gathered, was among the few Katsina lawmakers that have been contributing during the House's sessions. Our reporter also gathered that, though Mahuta's victory was challenged in the court by one Dr Abdulaziz Labo Mahuta, also a card -arrying member of the defunct CPC in Katsina, he was not among the 10 Katsina lawmakers whose election into the National Assembly in 2011 generated controversies in the country.

Dr Mahuta claimed ownership of the seat in the court. But the documents of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicated that he was the rightful owner of the seat.

Sunday Trust also gathered that Rep Mahuta is also seen among the defunct CPC lawmakers in Katsina as the only lawmaker that has not faced serious challenges from within and outside his party after the conduct of the 2011 general elections. Despite this, Mahuta appears to be the first CPC lawmaker in the state to incur the anger of his electorate on Friday, August 16, 2013. The lawmaker had a terrible encounter with political thugs in his hometown of Masari in Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State. He narrowly escaped death on that fateful Friday when some political thugs attacked him at a public function.

It was learnt that that Friday's attack on Mahuta was the second attack since he became lawmaker. He was said to have been attacked by a mob in his own constituency during the last constitutional review public hearing. But the lawmaker has vehemently denied the second attack.

One witness, who preferred anonymity, told Sunday Trust that Alhaji Mahuta was in Kafur to attend the wedding ceremony of the daughter of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, on that fateful Friday when the unfortunate incident happened.

Eyewitness' account revealed that the incident occurred at the former Speaker Masari's residence where the guests were hosted to a reception organized in their honour after the wedding fatiha.

The lawmaker was attacked by the angry mob in front of Masari's house, the witness added, saying "on sighting the lawmaker, the thugs who were at the gate probably waiting for Mahuta, surrounded him and started shouting 'ba ma yi' before they began to throw sachets of table water popularly known as 'pure water' at him".

"Alhaji Babangida was attacked. Some armed policemen around quickly intervened and rescued him from the angry thugs. He was escorted out of the town by heavily armed policemen," the witness added.

The witness also said "the armed policemen fired several shots into the air before they could disperse the angry mob and rescued the lawmaker. They threw stones and sachets of pure water at the lawmaker. They alleged that since he was elected, he never visited his constituency".

He added that since Mahuta was elected in 2011, he only visited his constituency twice before his third visit to attend the wedding ceremony of the former speaker's daughter.

He said his first visit was after he was elected when he toured his constituency and thanked his constituents for electing him, adding that the second visit was during the last constitutional review public hearing.

The former interim chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Katsina State, Alhaji Farouq Adamu Aliyu, in an interview with Sunday Trust, condemned the attack, describing it as unfortunate.

Aliyu said, "The danger of the incident was that nobody knows who will be the next target of the mob among Katsina lawmakers. People should learn how to punish politicians in a proper way.

"Time of election is approaching. If you are not comfortable with the performance of the lawmaker you have elected into power, then you can vote him out during the election instead of attacking him. Politically, the electorates have a right to vote out any politician who did not perform to their expectation while in office".

"I strongly condemn the attack on Alhaji Babangida Ibrahim Mahuta and I am calling on other members of the National Assembly to always be with their people. Without people, they will never become members at the National Assembly. I hope this unfortunate incident will serve as deterrent to other lawmakers not only in Katsina State but in the country as a whole," he also said.

Also commenting on the development, another chieftain of the defunct CPC, Alhaji Idris Abdullahi Garkuwan Machika called on the party followers in the state to eschew anger and work for the progress of the new party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

"I am calling on all party followers, including those elected to sheathe their sword for the development of APC in Katsina. APC was formed recently and without unity among its followers, we cannot take it to a greater height," he said.

Garkuwan Machika said those elected into various political offices should always remember those that elected them into power by visiting them and assisting them, saying this will enhance unity among the leaders and the followers.

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