The menace of assassination attempts on Nigerian politicians is becoming increasingly worrisome.
Checks by SaharaReporters revealed that five Nigerian politicians in a space of 6 months (September 2020 to March 2021) narrowly escaped death from assassination attempts.
The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, on September 26, 2020, was almost killed when Boko Haram terrorists ambushed his convoy in the Baga region of the state.
Though the governor escaped unhurt, four soldiers, 10 policemen and four civilians were lost during the attack/ambush, which was repelled by gallant troops.
According to reports, Zulum was on his way to meet residents displaced by the terror group when the attack was launched.
And that was not the only attack on Zulum.
At least nine people were reportedly killed on Sunday, November 22, 2020, when Boko Haram terrorists targeted a convoy belonging to the governor a third time.
According to local reports, members of the terrorist group attacked the convoy of Zulum on Gajiram-Monguno Road, killing seven soldiers and two civilians.
Zulum escaped uninjured, but it was the third time he would be attacked by Boko Haram terrorists in three months.
The governor had July 29, 2020 survived an attack by Boko Haram operatives on his convoy, near the town of Baga. According to media reports, the governor was unharmed, but there were casualties in his entourage.
In the aftermath of the attack, the governor criticised the Nigerian Army, saying: “You people said there is no Boko Haram here, then who attacked us? And, you have been here for over one year now, there are 1,181 soldiers here, if you cannot take over Baga which is less than 5km from your base, then we should forget about Baga.”
The Shehu of Borno, the highest-ranking Islamic traditional ruler in Borno and among the Kanuri people, himself a survivor of a Boko Haram attack, was quoted as saying “no one is safe”.
On October 18, 2020, the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, escaped what officials called an “assassination attempt” when armed people attacked anti-police brutality protesters in the state capital Osogbo.
After marching with the protesters, Governor Oyetola was addressing them when shots were fired.
Oyetola was not hurt but some of his aides were wounded.
The officials were hurriedly taken into their vehicles for safety.
Stones were also hurled at the official convoy as it left.
The governor’s spokesperson told journalists that the governor and his deputy survived the attack unhurt but some aides were wounded and a local journalist was in critical condition due to a serious head injury.
Officials say the attack was not carried out by the protesters but by thugs.
On January 10, 2021, the senator representing Osun West Senatorial District, Adelere Oriolowo, was reportedly attacked by gunmen during a meeting of members of the All Progressives Congress in the district.
Oriolowo was rushed out of the meeting that held at his constituency in Ikire, Osun State, by security personnel present during the attack.
The senator, whose vehicle was vandalised during the attack, described the attack as an ‘assassination attempt’.
Oriolowo wrote about the incident on his Facebook account: “Just escaped an assassination attempt on my life and that of my entourage. To God be the glory, we are safe and alive. God is my helper, my shelter and my fortress, I fear no evil.”
Also, on Saturday, March 20, 2021, suspected herdsmen attacked the convoy of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
Ortom was said to be returning from Gboko when the incident happened along Makurdi-Gboko highway around noon.
The governor was on his way to Makurdi, the state capital, when the suspected herdsmen opened fire on his convoy but were repelled by his security men.
Witnesses said there was a heavy exchange of gunfire between the attackers and the governor’s security detail.
Although a group, the Fulani Nationality Movement claimed responsibility for the attack on the governor’s convoy, the Inspector-General of Police ordered an investigation into the attack.
FUNAM, in a statement by one Umar Amir Shehu, titled “Why we attacked Ortom”, claimed the group acted on behalf of millions of Fulani in 15 countries.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports today speculating about who attacked the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
“Yes, We did. The Fulani Nationality Movement, ( FUNAM) carried out the attack. We have genuine reasons. We acted on behalf of millions of Fulani people in 15 countries.
“It’s a case of vengeance against an infidel who has used his time and money, deployed in destroying the Fulani values and inheritance.
“Our courageous fighters carried out this historic attack to send a great message to Ortom and his collaborators: Whereever you are, once you are against Fulani long-term interest, we shall get you down. This is a clear warning. We hope those who take us for granted will get the indisputable message.
“Our intention is unequivocal: TO KILL HIM. That mission will one day be fulfilled and very soon too.
“Eleven of FUNAM operatives were involved in the attack. Ortom escaped today because of a slight technical communication error. Next time, he will not be lucky. We can assure him and his supporters.
“Ortom has been leading the campaign against Fulani interests in the North. We have our operatives in all Southern States. Each will face our sword soon.
“We warn collaborators working against Fulani people across Nigeria: WE SHALL GET YOU irrespective of your hidden place.
“We state clearly, any state or individual that opposes RUGA will be confronted. Any State or individual that opposes ranching, we shall get you. Speak against ranching and RUGA even on the internet: Our Noiseless fighters shall find and fix you.
“In the next few months, FUNAM will carry out attacks on strategic human and material assets of States and Non-State groups or individuals known for their anti-Fulani campaigns.
“We shall hunt you down in your houses, in your workplaces, in your car, in your streets. It’s a matter of time.”
However, on March 28, it was reported that the Special Investigation Task Force set up by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, arrived in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
The team, led by DCP Abba Kyari, comprises operatives from the Tactical Investigation Units of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) and other experienced, crack detectives with specialised competencies in crime scene investigation and reconstruction, ballistics, fingerprint analysis and other core areas of forensics.
Gunmen on Wednesday disrupted an interactive session between Isuofia youths and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Chukwuma Soludo at the town’s civic centre.
Soludo, on February 18, had declared his intention to participate in the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.
In Wednesday’s attack, three policemen were shot dead and many other supporters missing.
Soludo, who is from Isuofia, and a leading aspirant in the forthcoming governorship election, is, however, said to be safe.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Sunday Kuryas, while confirming the attack on Soludo to Channels Television, explained that the details were still sketchy.