CHIEF of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, yesterday, revealed how he escaped an attempt on his life by Islamic Movement of Nigeria, popularly known as Shiites. He added that he escaped the attempted assassination by an act of God.
Members of the sect, allegedly attacked Buratai’s convoy last Saturday, in Zaria, Kaduna State. Briefing newsmen at the end of a closed-door session with Senate Committee on Defence, alongside the Minister of Defence and service chiefs, Buratai said the issue was very clear.
“It was aired on national televisions. Members of the group were violent on that day. You want to know how I escaped. It was by the will of God that I was able to escape from the place. I urge every- body to be law-abiding and nobody should take the law into his hands.
Speaking earlier, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Samaila Aliyu, told the committee that the ministry needs N10.6 billion for compensation arising from court judgments.
He said for many years, the ministry had not been paying electricity bill running into N18 billion. He said after negotiation with Power Holdings Company of Nigeria (PHCN), through the Minister of Justice, it was reduced to N8.5 billion.
“We have judgments that have been given against our services. Minister of Justice advised us to pay the compensation when the budget comes, as the courts already determined the payment. It was actually negotiated. Our service for several years did not pay their bill of over N18 billion owed over several years. We need to pay that,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has called for caution in the handling of the clash between military personnel and Shi’ite at the weekend. In a statement by its Secretary General, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, NSCIA said it was shocked by the current outbreak of deadly violence in Zaria.
“At a time Nigeria is facing serious challenges, the least expected is confrontation between the Nigerian Army and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. Loss of lives and property is, indeed, unfortunate and such should have been prevented.
“While there are claims and counter-claims on what actually precipitated the latest heart-rending incident, the NSCIA urges the authorities to exercise restraint. The history of the circumstances that engendered the outbreak of militant insurgency in the past, with cataclysmic consequences which Nigeria is yet to recover from, should not be allowed to repeat itself,” the statement read.