Boko Haram, the dreaded Islamic sect, yesterday protested the arraignment of Senator Ali Ndume and its self-styled spokesman, Ali Sanda Konduga, over their relationship with the sect.
Besides, the group denied being sponsored by politicians and served notice of renewed bombings and gun attacks.
Boko Haram (Western education is sin) spokesman Abu Quqa spoke to reporters on telephone in Maiduguri yesterday. He spoke in Hausa.
He said the group plans to bomb offices of political parties and target top politicians and top government officials.
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks on the Police Headquarters and the United Nations building in Abuja, among others, including the co-ordinated attacks in Yobe State in which over 60 people were killed in one fell swoop.
Quqa said yesterday that the group is now targeting political party officers to debunk the insinuation that it is being sponsored by politicians.
He advised members of the public and organisations that might have leased out their premises to political parties to revoke their tenancy immediately because no party secretariat will be spared in the attacks.
The group urged the media to continue to do their job within the confines of their ethics as they are mere messengers conveying vital information to the public.
“It is true we have links with al-Qaeda,” Qaqa said. “They assist us and we assist them.”
He did not provide further details on the supposed link.
He said “any Muslim group that is struggling to establish an Islamic state can get support from Al-Qaeda if they reach out to them”.
There has long been speculation, particularly among Western nations, over whether Boko Haram has formed links with outside extremist groups, including Al-Qaeda’s North African branch.
The purported spokesman said Boko Haram had two conditions for dialogue with the government, describing them as “implementation of sharia in Nigeria and the withdrawal of troops from Maiduguri.”
Also yesterday in Maiduguri, supporters of Sen. Ndume (Borno South), thronged the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre to protest his detention over what they termed as “not only criminal accusation, but a political blasphemy master minded by a cartel”.
Mr. Ibrahim Usman Makeri, who spoke on their behalf, expressed disgust over Ndume’s arraignment based on allegations by Konduga.
Makeri said: “Those allegations are unsubstantiated, untrue and contain classical set up and contradictions. He was unfairly subjected to trial by the media.”
He wondered why an entire Outside Broadcasting (OB) van usually used for national events was mobilised to hurriedly cover the proceedings at the Magistrate’s Court in Abuja.
He said: “Sen. Ndume has been and is always a humble, honest, kind and law abiding citizen. He is a dedicated citizen who has never been and will not be a member of any organisation or group against the laws of the country”.
What is happening to him, he added, “is not criminal accusation, but a political blasphemy masterminded by a cartel”.
Makeri said Ndume’s problem could be “from the highest level of decision making, administrative, political and security in Nigeria “.
“As members of his immediate constituency, Borno South Senatorial District, “we are solidly behind him and support all of his good positions and the struggle will be intensified,” he said.