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Boko Haram Kills Yusuf’s In-law Over Obasanjo’s Visit

THE celebrated visit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the family of the slain leader of the Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, may have backfired.

Barely 48 hours after the social call, suspected Boko Haram gunman shot and killed Babakura Fugu, 48, a son to Alhaji Baba Fugu, who is the father in-law to Yusuf. The killing took place yesterday at the victim’s Maiduguri Railway Quarters residence at about 1.30pm.

Although the Islamic sect had not claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting, sources indicated that it was connected to the visit of the former president.

According to the sources, “some members of the Boko Haram are not happy that the Fugu family hosted Obasanjo and want to enter into dialogue with him.”

Obasanjo visited Fugu and Yusuf’s family members in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Thursday to commiserate with them over Yusuf’s killing and seek dialogue with the Islamic sect.

Interestingly, the fresh killing follows the commendation of Obasanjo’s efforts by the hosts and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).

A spokesman for the Yusuf family reportedly appreciated Obasanjo’s call and expressed confidence in the former president’s mediation role and his promise to discuss the demands of the family members from the government.

Similarly, the ACF described the visit as “a courage step” and “part of the dialogue, which should put an end to the activities of members of the Boko Haram group and insecurity in the country.”

National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Mr. Anthony Sani, said, “this is part of the dialogue we have been talking about. This is what the Federal Government should have done long ago as part of the healing process.”

Confirming the attacks and killing yesterday, the Borno State Police Commissioner, Mr. Simeon Midenda, said: “Yes, I just received the report of the killing of Babakura Fugu at about 2.35pm today (yesterday), where a gunman, in flowing robes, walked to Fugu’s residence, and pulled out a Kalashnikov rifle to shoot and kill him on the spot.”

The Compol noted that the attacks on the residence and killing of Babakura might be related to the visit by Obasanjo on Thursday to the family members of Alhaji Baba Fugu, the father in-law to Yusuf.

Midenda said: “On receiving the reports of the killing, I directed the Commander of the Police of the area to move in quickly into the Railway Quarters; and investigate and report back to me for further investigations on what led to the attacking and killing of Babakura.”

He said no arrests had been made either by the Police or the Joint Task Force (JTF) four hours after the reports of the killing.

However, hailing Obasanjo’s visit to Maiduguri, Sani, articulating the ACF position, said he expected members of the Boko Haram to forgive and forget the past “because there is nothing anybody can do to bring the dead back. Let’s forgive each other.”

Sani argued that though President Goodluck Jonathan was not the personality that visited the family of late Yusuf, “but it is assumed that the calibre of former President Obasanjo visiting his family is as good as Jonathan personally being there and more so that a leader of the Southwest and Nigeria as a whole being in Maiduguri to console with the family, what else is more than this?”

The Arewa chief urged members of the Boko Haram to see the gesture as part of effort of government to dialogue with them and lay down their arms for the wellbeing of the nation generally.

Besides, Sani, who also spoke on the recent development in Jos, Plateau State, particularly on the roles of soldiers in conflict areas, noted that, “the agitation by some people in Plateau State that soldiers be removed is unhelpful.”

“We heard that in Maiduguri, where people agitated for removal of soldiers, such calls are misinformed and misguided. This is because the consequences of dragging the armed forces into the ethno-religious crises is dire.”

According to him: “I do not see what the soldiers stand to gain by getting involved in the crises in both Maiduguri and in Jos. It may be true that some few soldiers are indiscreet as is often the case in all professions.

“But as was the case with the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, where erring soldiers were fished out and punished, I believe the Nigerian Army has its own mechanism of inflicting retribution on offenders.”

“I do not want to believe the impression that the soldiers are serving no purpose in Plateau and Borno State. Their stay is very useful.


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