Samuel Ortom was born on April 23, 1961. He holds a Masters of Public Administration from the Benue University and a Ph.D from the Commonwealth University, Belize, which he earned through distance learning. Tope Adeboboye His face hardly feigns defiance; neither does his demeanour depict the rebellious persona. Add that to his perpetually timorous mien,…
• Name, prosecute sponsors, Fayose, Jonathan’s aide declare
From Wole Balogun Ado-Ekiti, Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The Federal Government, yesterdy, came under acerbic attack from the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose and the aide to former president Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, over its claim that disgruntled politicians and treasury looters were behind the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), the separatist group led by Nnamdi Kanu.
Minister of Information, Mohammed had said looters and disgruntled elements in the opposition were the chief sponsors of IPOB.
But in their seperate reactions, Fayose and Omokri challenged the minister to disclose names of the treasury looters he claimed were sponsoring the group.
According to Fayose, it was high time Nigerians began to hold the minister accountable for his claims, which he described as frivolouss.
“Lai Mohammed is fast becoming the Liar-General of the federation, having lied to gain power and still lying to sustain it. More than 20 months after he claimed that 55 Nigerians stole over N1.34 trillion from the country’s treasury from 2006 to 2013, Lai Mohammed is yet to tell Nigerians who the 55 people are,” Fayose said in a statement issued by his aide on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.
He described the minister as an embodiment of contradictions, who speaks from several sides of his mouth, turning himself to a vegetable while struggling to defend a government that has done more evil than good to Nigeria and its people.
“If he (Lai Mohammed) is able to read through his past comments and juxtapose them with his present comments, he will realise the contradiction that he has become. On June 10, 2013, Lai Mohammed spoke against the proscription of Boko Haram, saying that it stifled the press and tampered with the fundamental human rights of Nigerians. He also spoke in support of true federalism and restructuring of Nigeria. But today, in defence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, everything Lai Mohammed supported then, he is now against and what he was against then, he now supports.
“It is shameful that Lai Mohammed now runs speedily to defend the Lion King and his autocratic government, so that he won’t be devoured, and in the process of trying to avoid being sacked, he is manufacturing lies like pure water.”
Reacting, the former president’s aide also lambasted the minister for saying the activities of IPOB started because Jonathan lost the 2015 election.
“The insinuations in the press conference given by Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Sunday, accusing the opposition of sponsoring the IPOB and the fact that he mentioned that Nnamdi Kanu preached Nigerian unity during the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan is another clear indication that the present administration has not left propaganda mode for proper agenda mode two and a half year into their tenure.
“If the government, in which Lai Mohammed serves knows which opposition members are sponsoring IPOB, then they should identify them, arrest them and then prosecute them.”
He wondered if Saraki, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) could be said to be a sponsor of IPOB since he had also flayed its proscription.
“It is our suspicion that Lai Mohammed is talking from history seeing as he criticised the Jonathan government for banning Boko Haram in a statement he released on June 10, 2013, even though the Jonathan government had gone through due process before proscribing that murderous sect. Perhaps, Lai Mohammed thinks everybody is like him and those he represents.”
Omokri asked the minister to concentrate more on serving the nation than on propaganda.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has insisted that it was not only aware of sources of funding of IPOB, but has put machinery in place to block them.
Speaking on a live TV programme, yesterday, Mohammed said: “Terrorists do not publish where their funding are coming from. But we know the countries that are supporting IPOB. We know the sources of their funding though I am not at liberty to disclose them here. We are taking steps to block them and we are also taking a lot of diplomatic actions in respect of the countries that are supporting them.”
He said most of the countries supporting the group were doing so based on ignorance, as they may had been hoodwinked into believing that Nigeria was a country where Muslims persecute Christians and a country where there is genocide.
“As we speak today, IPOB has written letters to many governments outside Nigeria, international parliaments sending fake and cloned videos claiming there is genocide in Nigeria.”
Reactiong, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) frowned at the deployment of military to tackle IPOB.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, National President of PFN, Rev. Felix Omobude, said the deployment was an error, as it was not the function of the military to tackle civil agitation in a democracy.
“We believe in a nation where people have the right for agitation, which should be carried out within the confines of the law. PFN sees the use of the military to quash civil agitation as a dark cloud in our democratic process. We don’t encourage it. We prefer that the government should equip the police to handle civil unrest.”