Ex-Gov Sheriff Denies Lobbying To Release Detained Russian Plane

By Musdapha Ilo

Former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, has distanced himself from the arms-laden plane detained at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

An online newspaper had reported Sunday that Sheriff had paid a secret visit to the Kano Airport late on Saturday night to lobby for the release of the plane that was said to be on its way to Chad to offload large catchment of arms.

In a statement issued in Maiduguri on Monday, Sheriff said the report was sponsored by his political enemies looking for ways to drag him into the mud in order to gain political edge in the fight for the soul of Borno State.



    “Some few hours ago, my attention was drawn to a publication by the Premium Times on-line with a caption, “Ex-Borno Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, In Secret Visit To Arms-laden Chad-bound Plane Detained In Nigeria”. I read the report with consternation, much as I felt scandalised to be linked again to an issue I absolutely knew nothing about. For me, the publication has a ring of a conspiracy meant to drag my name in the mud by some cowardly, malicious and unschooled political rivals who, in their little minds, love to engage ill-trained media persons to peddle lies against me,” he said.

    Sheriff stressed that the report is totally false, very distasteful, illogical, malicious and “oozes strong elements of libel”, as he had nothing to do with the grounded foreign aircraft in Kano.

    He explained, “At the risk of exposing my private programme and movement last week, I like to say, all the same, that I left Abuja for Katsina last Thursday for the wedding ceremony of Muhammed, son of my friend Lamai Hassan who died 20 years ago. After the wedding, I needed to return to Abuja on Saturday with other friends through the Kano International Airport, since there was no direct flight from Katsina. The alibi I had was a meeting that I attended at the Transcorp Hotel, Abuja at 9.00pm on Saturday; whereas the report quoted an unreal source that I visited the Kano International Airport at 10.00pm same day!”

    He said the authors of the report if anything, only succeeded “in exposing their ignorance, lack of integrity and gross misconduct rooted in their feeble grab of the basic tenets of journalism which they were taught to uphold.”
    Sheriff challenged anyone who saw him at the airport in connection with the detained aircraft to produce evidence, adding that he would “be instructing my legal team to take steps towards defending my name on this issue.”

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