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Nigeria Youth Leader Denies Assassination Plot

Muhammadu Buhari, former military ruler and presidential candidate for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), speaks during the flag-off of the presidential campaign at Mapo square, Ibadan, south-west Nigeria, March 14, 2011.

A Nigerian youth leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, (NDPVF), has denied allegations he planned the recent bombings in Kaduna to assassinate former president Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of next year’s general elections.

Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari says the accusations against him are a calculated attempt by opponents of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to undermine his support for President Goodluck Jonathan in the run-up to the vote.

“This thing is preposterous and is so laughable,” said Dokubo-Asari. “What do I have to do with Buhari? Is Buhari a threat to Goodluck Jonathan’s ambitions? These people are so desperate that they can go to any level to make accusations.”

Dokubo-Asari cited his arrest last year in Benin where he was accused of being the leader and a financier of Boko Haram, as well as engaged in money laundering among other charges. He said the latest accusations are politically motivated by opponents of the president.

“It has far-reaching political implications. You remember that there was a report… that I was leader of Boko Haram, I was arrested, it was investigated it was found to be false,” said Dokubo-Asari. “They know that whatever they are doing against Goodluck Jonathan will fail. And they know that if I am around in 2015, I will be a major stumbling block to whatever they are plotting against Goodluck Jonathan.”

Buhari who is a leading member of the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) survived two explosions that reportedly targeted his convoy in Kaduna last month. The blasts left at least 50 people dead and scores injured.

The government has launched an investigation into the twin bomb blasts. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack although the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram has been blamed. The group has often threatened the former president’s life.

Dokubo-Asari says he supports efforts by the administration to fully investigate the circumstances that led to the attack. But he expressed doubts about the alleged assassination attempt describing it as “stage-managed.”

“I have written to the state security service that this must be done and I think it should be investigated,” said Dokubo-Asari.

Officials of the opposition APC say the party is not to blame for the accusation against Dokubo-Asari.

They dismissed Dokubo-Asari’s description that the twin bomb blast was stage-managed. The APC also called for an independent investigation into the alleged assassination attempt on Buhari’s life.

Buhari is seen by some analysts as a strong contender to lead the APC as the presidential candidate in next year’s election.