In what appears to be discordant tunes by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has accused the main opposition party,the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of sponsoring violence in the country days after Buhari blamed forces outside Nigeria for the activities of the insurgents.
In a world press conference in Abuja on Monday,the Minister said the federal government is in “possession of credible intelligence” that the PDP has mobilised insurgents to unleash violence in the country ahead of the polls.
He said, “Before you accuse the government of crying wolf, let me tell you,
gentlemen, that we have credible intelligence that armed bandits and
Boko Haram insurgents have been mobilized to engage in massive attacks
and other acts of violence in several states across the country,
including Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa,
Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara.
“The Benue-based armed criminal group, led by Terwase AKWAZA, also known
as Gana, has been commissioned to strike soft targets in Benue,
Nasarawa, and Taraba States. In Kano State, a group of notorious
miscreants have been mobilized by some prominent opposition leaders to
provoke massive chaos before, during and after the elections. There is
also an international dimension to the evil plan. Some armed
mercenaries from Niger Republic have been contracted to attack top
government functionaries, including state governors, across the
North-west between now and the elections.”
Contrary to claims by the Minister, last week at a town hall meeting tagged “NgMeetTheCandidates” hosted by journalist Kadaria Ahmad where President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo were featured, Buhari said the raging war in the north eastern part of the country was supported by external forces outside Nigeria.
Mohammed latest accusations came days after he disclosed to journalists that the federal government will question the presidential candidate of the PDP Atiku Abubakar over payment he received from defunct Platinum Habib Bank of Nigeria. Observers have blamed the latest flurry of unsubstantiated allegations by the federal government against Atiku and his party as signs of panic in the camp of the APC ahead of the February 16 polls following Atiku’s successful visit to the United States where the federal government claimed he was running away from for fear of arrests. Atiku’s acceptability among voters across the country has continued to send cold shivers down the spine of the ruling party, a development they never envisaged according to sources within the party.
Buhari while campaigning in 2015 promised to crush the insurgency. A promise he had failed to fulfill. Many analysts have blamed the renewed attacks on military formations in the north east by Boko Haram insurgents on the insincerity and inefficiency of the federal government in dealing with the situation. Buhari in an interview aired on Arise TV earlier this month accepted responsibilities for the failure of the service chiefs to tackle numerous security challenges in the country.
The PDP on the other hand reacted to the claims made by the Minister. In a press conference in Abuja on Monday,the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan called on Nigerians to hold the federal government responsible for any violence in the country.
Ologbondiyan accused the APC of complicity in the prevailing security challenges in the country citing violence at rallies organised by the APC in different parts of the country. He said the APC encourages violence within its ranks.
Read PDP’s response;
Claim of Security threats by Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The PDP has noted the address today, by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, acting on behalf of the Buhari Presidency, that some groups are being mobilized to stage violent attacks in various parts of our country.
We have noted the detailing of awareness of the said plots by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, which exposes manifest complicity at very high level.
In the light of this and the already displayed desperation by the APC ahead of the general elections, the PDP calls on Nigerians to hold President Buhari directly responsible for any escalation of violence in our nation.
It is imperative to state that the PDP finds the claims of Alhaji Lai Mohammed, irresponsible and ludicrous. It is just a measure for building the ground for framing up and arrest of leading members of the opposition as he has just confirmed our concerns.
Severally, we have alerted the nation that the APC and the Buhari Presidency, having come to the reality of their imminent and disgraceful loss at the polls have embarked on a strategy to foment crisis in our dear nation and blame the opposition.
The PDP, as known to all Nigerians and the world is a party that preaches and function by peace. We have conducted rallies in many states and geo-political zones without a record of violence. The APC cannot make a similar claim of a peaceful rally in its few attempts at interacting with its members and the public.
Its party primaries ended in violence and multiple deaths. Its rally in Lagos state ended in a fiasco and recorded fatalities. Its Presidential candidate is known all over the world for inciting supporters against peace-loving Nigerians, when he said that baboon and dogs will soak in their blood.
On behalf of Nigerians, we thank Alhaji Lai Mohammed for mustering the courage to bring the nefarious plans of the APC to the public. The PDP and Nigerians are prepared for a peaceful election in defence of our democracy.
Director, Media & Publicity
PDP Presidential Campaign Organization