The Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday in the crisis ridden State Bornu confirmed that the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) chairman Alhaji Mala Othmanis has been taken in custody heightening fear of imminent arrest of other top members of the party for alleged cooperation with the terrorrist sect Boko Haram.
The Bornu State Governor Bakura Shettima swiftly reacted to the news stating through the state secretary of the party that the arrest was nothing more than a political motivated crackdown on ANPP.
The JTF spokesman Sagir Musa however revealed that the chairman is only being investigated But Alhaji Umar Duhu Senior Special Assistant to former Borno State governor now ANPP BOT chairman, Ali Modu Sherriff, condemned the arrest of the party chieftain. He said in Kaduna that the arrest of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) chairman in Borno State Mala Othman over ECOMOG group was condemnable.
According to him, ECOMOG was formed as a political group and has nothing to do with the Boko Haram insurgency. “The political youth wing named ECOMOG has nothing to do with Boko Haram. In fact, the ECOMOG is greatly hunted by the Boko Haram members. I can vouch for Mala Othman because he is honest, clean and God fearing and did not deserve this kind of treatment after some youth called ‘civilian JTF’ burnt down his house,” Duhu said.
However, “the JTF has arrested the chairman of the ANPP, Alhaji Mala Othman. He is in JTF’s custody undergoing interrogation. Investigation is ongoing and the press will be accordingly briefed at the end of the investigation,” Sagir said, when contacted to shed light on the arrest of the party chairman.
Othman has been the ANPP chairman right from the days of former governor Ali Modu Sheriff and observers say his arrest is a prelude to other high profile arrests over allegations on the protracted Boko Haram crisis. Duhu who is the chairman of the ANPP in Adamawa State and Vice Chairman, North-East of the yet-to-be registered APC alleged that Othman is been witch hunted by political opponents.
“God willing, the truth will come out and justice will prevail. It is just sad that people are playing politics with the security of lives and property. The action of the so-called ‘civilians JTF’ that burnt down his house must be investigated and their sponsors apprehended,” Duhu added.