The Borno State government has expressed worries over the Saturday’s arrest of the chairman of Mafa Local Government Area, Shettima Mafa, on alleged connection with Boko Haram sect.
Mr. Mafa had alledgedly given shelter to an unidentified top Boko Haram commander at his residence in the 1,000 Housing Units in Maiduguri metropolis, prompting military raid in the house.
But the government said in a statement by commissioner for Local Government and Emirate Affairs, Usman Zanna, that contrary to media reports, the chairman was not arrested but reported himself to the military.
Mr. Zanna also said the chairman was known as someone who worked closely with hunters and military commanders in Mafa to lead community fight against Boko Haram for years.
The commissioner, however, said his ministry neither questioned the judgment and authority of the military nor exonerated the chairman of any wrongdoing in order not to pre-empt the outcome of ongoing investigation.
“If not because of media reports on this matter, the Ministry for Local Government and Emirate Affairs which oversees the affairs of the 27 local government areas in Borno state, would have preferred not to make public comment over a matter that is still being investigated by our competent and patriotic military establishment involved in the fight against Boko Haram.
It has become necessary that this statement is issued in order to put some records straight. First of all, contrary media reports, the caretaker chairman in question was not arrested. He actually reported himself to the military command in Maiduguri after he got information that he was needed by the military.
“Secondly, contrary to reports by the media that he was arrested at the 1,000 housing estate along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, there was never any issue at all at 1,000 estate.
“The chairman lives at 505 housing estate which is located on an entirely different route, along Dikwa and Mafa which is the way to the chairman’s office in Mafa. The chairman actually reported himself to the military last week and was detained pending the outcome of ongoing investigations being conducted by the military.
“While we do not intend to question the intelligence gathering, judgment and authority of the military, to us at the Ministry for Local Government and Emirate Affairs, the whole development is a worrisome twist. It is a twist because, for years, the caretaker chairman has been known for his courage in joining hunters to go into front lines to battle Boko Haram fighters. His commitment in the fight against insurgents is known to different army commanders that served in Mafa local government area in the last two years,” said the statement.