Jos, Nigeria (20 April 2022): Two people have been reported killed after armed men believed to be Fulani militiamen ambushed the convoy of Musa Agah, a newly-elected member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, last night at 9 pm.
According to locals, the attack took place in the bright moonlight, close to Nigeria’s 3rd Army Division headquarters in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Another ambush minutes later in a nearby town killed a man riding motorcycle, said a tribal leader, Davidson Malison.
A convoy of two vehicles and a motorcycle ferrying 12 people, including Agah, was first ambushed at about 9 pm local time, killing two according to Malison. Agah was traveling on the same car with his wife and two children when the attack occurred, it was gathered.
The team was traveling to Miango, Agah’s hometown, after a “thank you tour” of local towns by the lawmaker, said his close associate Moses Gata.
Minutes after crossing a military checkpoint, the convoy was greeted with “heavy gunfire” which shattered the cars’ windows, said Gata.
“The cars were pelted with bullets all over but somehow the lawmaker escaped, except for the two people killed on bike who were leading the convoy,” he said.
Although the attack occurred less than 500 meters from a heavily guarded army shooting range, the military did not respond, Gata said.
“The military checkpoint was just one and half mile away and the shooting range which was just 500 meters from the scene of the attack but how it still happened we don’t know,” he said.
Mr. Agah, formerly a member of the Plateau State Legislature, became a federal lawmaker in February, replacing his deceased predecessor after a razor-thin election victory.
The by-election on 26 February in the Bassa and Jos North Local Government Areas, which have seen a series of armed attacks by terrorists who identify as Fulani Muslims, involved loud religious sentiments.
Muslim clerics publicly charged followers to vote for Muslim candidates prior to the elections. At the time, leaders of the local Christian tribes had reported that more than 24,000 of their members displaced from 16 towns risked disenfranchisement, since officials ruled that IDPs could not vote from the places they were displaced to.
The decision raised fears that the widespread displacement of Christians in the area were aimed at political domination.
The official results showed that Agah received 40,343 votes, narrowly beating his Muslim opponent by a meager 2,586. The results have been challenged in court by the Muslim candidate.
“It’s no doubt that the attack was a calculated one and a continued plan to include in their grand scheme, a complete annihilation of illustrious and eminent sons of the land just like it was done on the District Head of Miango, Mr. Daniel Chega and his people along [the road to] 3rd Armoured Division on the 5th of July, 2021 where they narrowly escaped but were wounded,” wrote Malison in a press statement on 20 April.