Twelve Igbo youth leaders escaped death in Abuja last Thursday while purportedly on their way to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan, The PUNCH has learnt.
Leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing told our correspondent on Monday that the aborted visit to the Villa was at the instance of President Jonathan.
National Organising Secretary, Ohanaeze Youth Wing, Mr. Okechukwu Isiguzoro, alleged that someone who claimed to be Dr. Reuben Abati, Special Assistant to the President on Media, had invited them last Wednesday to meet with Mr. President on Thursday, April 11, 2013 by 4.00pm.
He said, “The so-called Reuben Abati purported that Mr. President wished to dialogue with Igbo youth leaders having done so also with the Arewa and Yoruba youth leaders.”
Isiguzoro, who was part of the trip to Abuja, said they all travelled by night bus that fateful day after clearing with some of their elders.
He said, “At Abuja, the representatives of the so-called Abati lodged us in a hotel at Gwagwalada, remote outskirts of Abuja.
“In the morning of Thursday, April 11, 2013, three vehicles came to the hotel to take us to Aso Rock Villa. But Instead of heading for the Villa, the vehicles sped off to Suleja and we had to query the drivers.
“As an argument raged on along the way, security agents stopped the vehicles at a checkpoint. Rather than stop, the drivers sped off into the bush.”
He said, “We had to trek back to the checkpoint and narrated our encounter with the unknown men to the security agents.
“The security men came to the scene and later towed the vehicles to their base. Investigations are still on however.”
Isiguzoro said no one knew the intentions of those behind the attempt on their lives, but said it is suspected that it was a set up to wipe out some Igbo youths leaders.
“The real Reuben Abati should take up the matter immediately as what happened showed that some people have been impersonating him.
“The circumstances that led to the incident is bizarre and shocking,” he added.