In flagrant display of the federal might behind him, immediate past Governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff stormed Maiduguri, the state capital yesterday, accompanied by hundreds of soldiers, led by a serving colonel of the Nigerian Army, to strategize ahead of the 2015 general election.
It was learnt that the former governor, whose private jet touched down at the Maiduguri International Airport around 2.30pm, was received by several police men and operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).
Shortly before his arrival, security operatives in armoured personnel carriers (APCs) had cordoned off the airport with several soldiers and policemen also stationed in strategic locations in Maiduguri, which has been a shadow of itself since the beginning of Boko Haram insurgency, to ensure adequate security cover for Mr. Sheriff. The former governor had defected to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) few months ago from the All Progressives Congress, and since then, has become a prized asset of the Federal Government, receiving full security complement whenever he visits his home state.
Others in the entourage of the former governor were Alhaji Kashim Imam, Alhaji Gambo Lawan and Barrister Umara Kumalia, all of whom are eyeing the governorship ticket of the PDP, among others.
While on his way out of the airport in a long motorcade, an armoured personnel carrier led the convoy and another one trailed behind even as dozens of security patrol vehicles stood in between hundreds of private cars of politicians.
Meanwhile, in reaction to the ‘flagrant abuse’ of power, a Maiduguri-based legal practitioner, Barrister Mohammed Ali, said: “It is very sad that despite the glaring insecurity in Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima does not have a single soldier in his convoy and he has less than 20 policemen and 10 SSS operatives providing security for him”.
He added: “I still remember the flagrant abuse of power by the federal government when the Maiduguri airport was reopened for Sheriff to land few weeks after he defected to the PDP. The same airport was closed for about one year and even pilgrims had to take the risky ride to Kano before they were airlifted to Saudi Arabia”.