Nigeria Newspapers – The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has cancel its peace mission on Boko Haram insurgency to Borno State, citing the safety of its officials as reason for its action.Chairman of the six-man special ad hoc committee, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke to THISDAY yesterday on phone, said the party decided to put the mission on hold because of security considerations.
Odigie-Oyegun said the party was concerned about the unsafe atmosphere which might hinder access to various places the committee might want to visit in the course of its intervention.
He also spoke of fears that the lives of individuals and personalities who might want to volunteer information on the crippling security crisis in the state might be under threat.
“Our party has decided to put on hold the peace mission to Borno State in view of the current situation in the state. The decision on whether to go ahead with the solidarity mission will depend on further developments. It is the hope of the party that the current reduction in conflict in Maiduguri is sustained,” he said.
On July 28, the ANPP inaugurated a six-man special committee to undertake a peace mission to Borno State as part of the party’s intervention to help address the challenges posed by the activities of Boko Haram. However, more than two months after the establishment of the committee, it is yet to commence action. Members of the committee have not been able to enter the state for fear of their being attacked.
Following an incident where a key stakeholder in the crisis that met with former President Olusegun Obasanjo got killed shortly afterwards, the ANPP committee sought to obtain security guarantees from the state government on the safety of its team before commencing the assignment.
Speaking while inaugurating the committee during the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the ANPP National Chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said the committee was a solidarity/fact-finding one being dispatched to the state to find out what is happening there with regard to the security situation in the area arising from the activities of Boko Haram.
Members of the committee include the former Governor of Edo State, Chief Odigie-Oyegun, Prof. Daniel Osaro, Senator Saidi Umar Kumo, Chief George Moghalu, Admiral Lanre Amosu and Senator Lawan Muhammed Aliyu.
Onu said the committee had been asked to report its findings to the party to enable it to come up with additional measures to assist in addressing the security crisis bedevilling the North-eastern state.
The Odigie-Oyegun-led committee was intended to complement the effort of the state Governor, Alhaji Kassim Shettima, a member of the party, and that of other intervening agencies in trying to bring back peace to the troubled state.
Meanwhile, a 49-year-old tea seller, Malam Tumba, and an unnamed passer-by were yesterday killed by suspected Boko Haram gunmen at Timber Market on Baga Road, Maiduguri, Borno State.
The killing of the duo brought to four, the number of victims felled by gunmen in the city between the Independence Day and yesterday.
A witness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri that Tumba was shot by two gunmen, who stormed the market with AK47 rifles.
The witness said one of the men shot the victim in the chest while he was attending to a customer, adding that a middle-aged man also died after he was hit by a stray bullet from the attack.
“An unidentified middle-aged man, who was passing-by also died after being hit by a stray bullet,” the witness said.
Similarly, a patent medicine shop owner was shot on Sunday evening at his store in Jajeri, near the market.
The killings came barely 24 hours after an unnamed butcher was killed on Saturday at the market.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Simeon Midenda, confirmed the attacks, saying: “I received reports on attacks in the market. First, it was a butcher that was shot on Saturday by unknown gunmen, then on Sunday a patent medicine seller was shot at Jajeri close to the market.
“The report I received was the killing of a patent medicine seller in the same Jajeri ward last night, where an attack was launched on a patent medicine store and the proprietor killed. The killers took away the day’s sales with them.”
Midenda declined further comments on yesterday’s attacks, saying he had no details.
But the spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Operation Restore Order, Lt-Col. Hassan Mohammed, said: “We just received reports of the attacks and killings this afternoon. Our men and officers have rushed to the affected area to ascertain whether or not there are casualties from the serial attacks and shootings by the suspected gunmen that attacked one of our patrol vehicles on Independence Day.”
Armed soldiers have, consequently, sealed off the Timber Market on Baga Road following the series of attacks.
NAN reported that the entire market area had been cordoned off by soldiers, who prevent people entry to the market.