Fred Ezeh, Abuja Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Friday, took the attention of guests and graduands at the 7th convocation lecture of the headquarters of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). Obasanjo was the first PhD graduate of NOUN, having successfully completed his academic and other research works, that aimed him the doctorate degree…
AS usual, former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode raised a storm during the week when he revealed in an article that the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of former National National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen Patrick Aziza and Kaduna state governor, Patrick Yakowa was not an accident but a high level conspiracy. He equally revealed that the collapse of the guest house of the Synagogue Church of all Nations which claimed the lives of about 110 people, mostly foreigners, was not an act of God as Nigerians were made to believe but an action of some fifth columnists among the security agencies who blew up the building using the drone technology.
In the article which he entitled, ‘Murder in the church’, the former minister said, “the whole thing appears to have been covered up and those in high places in the intelligence agencies at the time, having discovered that this was yet another rogue operation by a group of fifth columnists within the security apparatus who were keen on silencing the President’s friends and who wanted to use the operation to embarrass and terrify their perceived enemies and adversaries, decided to brush the whole thing under the carpet and keep it quiet”. He went further to state that the motive was to silence and discredit the General Overseer of the church, Prophet T.B Joshua who was exposing the deepest secrets of those working against the president at the time, Goodluck Jonathan.
Indeed, the former Minister’s expose corroborated the claim of the church when the incident occurred in 2014. According to the church, a flying object had flown close to the building few minutes before it collapsed. One of the church’s Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) had captured the flying object. I must confess, I saw the CCTV image too, days after the incident. Although the church’s claims generated a lot of controversies, it died an unnatural death especially when the Nigerian Airforce later claimed that it was conducting some training sorties around the same period. No one was curious to investigate the church’s claims further. If, as the former minister said, the collapse was orchestrated by fifth columnists among security agencies, would a convenient training sortie not be a perfect cover to perpetrate the demolition? Such an idea is not too far fetched and it is not as if it had not happened before in the country. We are all living witnesses to the killings and spate of bombings that occurred, almost on a daily basis in the country, in the aftermath of the June 12, 1993 elections annulment. The military government of the dark-goggled General attributed the disruptions to the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), the association that was in the vanguard of opposition to the military government and the fight for the restoration of the annulment. It was several years later that we all got to know that the killings and the blasts that occurred during the period were organized by agents of the government of the day using the security apparatus.
This is why one should not rule out the possibility of what the former minister said.
It is only then fair to revisit the incident. A proper investigation should be conducted to set the records straight, although, I am not sure that enough evidence would still be available to prove the truth or otherwise of what the former minister said. Would the debris from the collapsed building still be available to aid forensic investigators? I very much doubt.
But Nigerians should not keep quiet or fold arms over the ex-minister’s revelations considering that two individuals are currently on trial as a result of the collapse. The individuals who are site engineers have been charged for negligence and criminal manslaughter. Thus, If the minister’s claim is to be believed, then one would not be wrong to say that the trial of the duo is an unfair deal. One could extend it further that they are being punished for a crime that they know nothing about. Indeed, in a saner clime, the claim of the former minister is enough reason to reopen investigation into the matter. That is not all, the same applies to the death of Aziza and Yakowa.
“They told me that it was the same group of operatives that were behind the fatal “crash” of General Patrick Azazi’s (the former National Security Advisor) helicopter and how Governor Patrick Yakowa (the Governor of Kaduna state) was purposely lured on that helicopter in order for them to literally “kill two birds with one stone”, the Minister wrote.
As stated earlier, these are weighty claims that should be further investigated. It is when such investigations are conducted and those responsible brought to justice that the cleavages, suspicions and distrust that have been the bane of our co-existence would be greatly reduced. Without justice, the country would continue to be dogged by ethno-religious tendencies that have continued to retard the growth of Nigeria.
Let Osinbajo be, please (2)
Last week, I wrote in defence of the Vice President and acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo over allegations of favoring members of his church , the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), where he is a pastor and people from the south west, in appointment. The writer of the article, whose identity could not be identified further accused the VP of harbouring an agenda to contest the 2019 elections. I will refrain from further comment as enough had been said about the matter and a lie put to the allegations. In a statement released by the presidency which includes the list of people working with the VP, it became obvious that the acting president had been wrongly accused. His staff is a reflection of the spirit of the federal character as espoused by the constitution.
In all these, certain things are obvious, there are people who are bent on creating discord in the presidency and pit Nigerians against each other by playing the ethno-religious card. This was further lent credence by the presidency when it revealed that some people are bent on destabilizing the country. This should not be allowed to happen. Nigeria has more than enough to cope with presently without going through the road of division.