On the morning of December 25th, 2011, as worshippers gathered for Christmas prayers inside St Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, a bomb exploded killing 37 worshippers. Nigerians were horrified.
“Who could have done this?” was the question on everyone’s lips. Goodluck Jonathan, the go-to culprit for everything wrong with Nigeria was not only blamed but cursed generously. He managed a vow to bring the culprit/s to justice.
In no time, the man in the picture below, Kabiru Umar Abubakar Dikko, AKA Kabiru Sokoto was identified as the mastermind of the horrendous bombing. Security agents under strict instructions from President Jonathan went crazy looking for him and his Boko Haram cell in Abaji was discovered. But despite infiltrating the cell, the terrorist was no where to be found. Intel would later lead to the Asokoro lodge of Kashim Shettima, then the governor of Borno state and lo and behold that was where the murderer was found and arrested. Under interrogation, he revealed more info and was taken for a search of his premises at Abaji under the command of Policeman Zakari Biu.
Now Biu is an interesting character who alongside the likes of Hamza Mustapha, Sgt. Rogas and Paul Okuntimo did Abacha’s sordid jobs. It was he who slapped the journalist, Chris Ayanwu almost blinding her in one eye for publishing an “embarrassing story” about Abacha. Ms. Ayanwu would later drag him to the Oputa Panel where he showed absolutely no remorse but instead laughed it off, even cracking jokes! Rev. Father Kukah and Justice Oputa would, in an obscene gesture that seemed like a profane appropriation of divine will ask Anyawu to “forgive and forget,” hug the man and “let bygones be bygones,” a stunt Wole Soyinka would capture in a scathing article on Tell magazine. But the unforgiving Olusegun Obasanjo, like he did to all the lunatics of the Abacha era would retire the policeman immediately. How Zakari Biu sneaked back into the NPF under President Yar’Adua remained unnoticed until he was implicated in the escape of Kabiru Sokoto.
Just hours after Kaburi Sokoto was taken for a search his home in Abaji under the command of Biu news came that the terrorist had escaped custody on their way to Abaji. A livid Jonathan quickly got Zakari Biu and everyone involved arrested and ordered for Sokoto to be produced by whatever means. Another set of state security agents would later track him to Biu village where after a heavy shootout between his men and security agents, he was arrested and under tight security transported to Abuja and charged to court. On December 21, 2013 he was handed a life sentence by a judge who remarked that the terrorist showed zero remorse for the murders he committed.
Why was Kabiru Sokoto hiding in the Borno State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro?
Why was Kashim Shettima vehemently opposed to the security directives issued by President Jonathan with respect to the Boko Haram crisis such that it culminated in the Chibok tragedy, and even after Jonathan lost in 2015, he was still so bitter about the former president’s handling of the terror group that during his swearing in as a 2nd term governor of Bornu state on May 29, 2015, he said Jonathan’s was a “hostile Federal Government..which also saw the insurgency from the most perverted, narrow and irresponsible prism..”?
Why was Shettima insistent on amnesty for Boko Haram even 3 yrs after the presiding judge in the Kabiru Sokoto case clearly said Sokoto did not show any remorse in the course of his trial?
We will keep retelling these stories for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with our immediate history, even if only to serve as sign posts on their walk towards the next polls, and to those who have mischievously chosen to forget, so that by tomorrow when posterity sees the Nigeria our generation bequeathed to them, they will know where we each stood when it mattered and in the words of Pius Adesanmi, that “not all of us choose to be slaves.”