Former President Goodluck Jonathan has reacted to the statement by the Federal Government which alleges that looters and disgruntled elements in the opposition were the chief sponsors of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, September 19, which was signed on his behalf by his aide, Reno Omokri, the former President also slammed the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for alleging that the activities of IPOB started because he (Jonathan) lost the 2015 election. He wrote:
“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.
“Ever since Lai Mohammed made his ill-advised statement, a principal member of the All Progressive Congress government and the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, has come out to say that the actions in the Southeast are troubling and some of it are unconstitutional. Is he also sponsoring IPOB too?”
Jonathan also commended the South-East Governors for their efforts in restoring peace, adding that Lai Mohammed had no moral right to cast aspersions given that the minister had once criticised him for declaring Boko Haram a terrorist group.
“It is our suspicion that Lai Mohammed is talking from history seeing as he criticized the Jonathan government for banning Boko Haram in a statement he released on June 10, 2013, even though the Jonathan government had gone through the due process before proscribing that murderous sect. Perhaps Lai Mohammed thinks everybody is like him and those he represents.”
Noting that the Buhari administration has spent the last two years “blaming”, instead of “building,” the former president said:
“Let me say again to Lai Mohammed, the time for propaganda is gone. The time for blaming Goodluck Jonathan for all the unfulfilled promises of the APC government is over. Nigerians are no longer buying it.
“Rome may not have been built in a day, but from day one you could see evidence of builders building up Rome. But what have we seen in the last two and a half years of the Muhammadu Buhari administration? We see a government that from day one has been blaming instead of building.”
Jonathan, therefore, urged the minister to concentrate more on serving the nation than on propaganda.
The former president also criticised the Federal Government for planning to extend the military show of force to the South-South and the South-West. His words:
“We want to advise the Buhari administration, which has announced plans to extend the military show of force to the South-South and the South-West through Operation Crocodile Smile, to tread with caution.
“Nigeria is no longer under military rule. In a democracy, you separate the military from the police. The military is not meant to fight criminality within a nation because they are trained to fight a nation’s external enemies.
“It is the police that is trained to fight crime internally. When the military starts doing the job of the police and starts fighting or doing what they call a ‘show of force’, the effect will not be to reduce crime. The effect will be to intimidate people.”