…FG won’t frame -up anybody- Minister
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday raised alarm over attempt by the federal government to arrest and detain him over some phantom charges.
Obasanjo in a release issued in Abeokuta and signed by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, said the desperation to frustrate, intimidate and blackmail him into abandoning his divine mandate to protect the rights of the people to better life and living continued unabated and has even taken a bizarre dimension.
“Impeccable security sources have alleged Chief Obasanjo’s name is on their watch list and that the security of his life cannot be guaranteed.
According to these informants, many of who are in the top echelon of the Nation’s security management and close to the corridors of power, the operatives are daily perfecting how to curtail the personal liberties of the former President and hang a crime on him.
“Ordinarily, we would not have dignified these reports with a response but for the fact that many of these informants are not known for flippant and frivolous talks.
Secondly, this government has demonstrably exhibited apathy, and in some cases, encouraged by its conduct, daily loss of lives and property in many States of the country, the office cannot be indifferent.
“We are currently in a nation where the number three citizen is currently being harangued and the number four citizen is facing similar threat within the same government they serve.
“There is a groundswell of our nationals that live in fear that they could be hounded, harassed, maimed or even killed as the battle for 2019 takes this worrisome dimension.
“For Chief Obasanjo, this is a joke carried too far and being someone who does not act on unofficial information, he had cautioned all informants and adopted a wait-and-see attitude to the bestial propositions allegedly being contemplated to cow, cage and embarrass him,” said the statement.
The content of the alleged beastly designs, it was learnt are two-fold for now. One, to seize his international passport and clamp him into detention indefinitely, in order to prevent him from further expressing angst on the pervasive mediocrity in the quality of governance, economic management and in the protection of lives and property by the Government.
However, since that could expose the government to a swath of international condemnation, embarrassment and outrage, it is said that another plot being hatched is to cause the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-open investigation into the activities of Chief Obasanjo’s administration using false witnesses and documents. This will be a re-enactment of the Abacha era in which Chief Obasanjo was one of the principal victims.
The same EFCC that had conducted a clinical investigation on the activities of Obasanjo in and out of Government, it was said, would now be made to stand down the existing report that gave Chief Obasanjo a clean bill of health on the probes are now to get him, indicted,
fair or foul for possible prosecution and persecution like it is being done to real and perceived opponents, enemies and critics of this government. Dissent is a fundamental principle on which liberal democracy is predicated. A true democrat must be ready to live with and accommodate dissent and opposition.
While it is regrettable how the government has sunk in its shameless desperation to cow opposition, a resort to blackmail, despotism and Gestapo-tactics being employed by the goons of this government would not hold water. And no government ever remains in power forever.
For the record, Chief Obasanjo reiterates his readiness to face probe again after that of the House of Representatives, the Senate, the ICPC, and the EFCC, but before an independent, objective and credible panel of enquiry to account for his stewardship in government and beyond.
Chief Obasanjo reiterates that he has taken a principled position to ensure that the ship of the Nigerian State does not capsize and he remains steadfast in his resolve to turn the tide of maladministration, poor economic management and rudderless governance model that has tore Nigerians apart on account of religion and ethnicity which is a great threat to our democracy.
“We would like the government and its supporters to understand that no amount of campaign of calumny, no matter how well contrived, orchestrated or marketed would deter Chief Obasanjo from calling a spade by its name.
“Chief Obasanjo is a patriot whose sole agenda is to ensure that the country’s unity, progress and democracy are not negotiated on the altar of incompetence and provincialism and mediocrity.
“It is important to point out that chief Obasanjo is one former President and Head of State who has engaged the current administration privately and in a bilateral manner on several issues of direct interest to the government and other matters of national concern. That channel of private engagement remains open and continues.
“However, should there be the need for public engagement, the right to free speech will always be exercised and jealously guarded, again in the best interest of Nigeria and the government,” the statement further stated.
But the Federal Government has said that the administration will never engage in a frame-up of innocent citizens.
The government said that is neither in the character of President Muhammadu Buhari nor in that of his administration to frame up anybody, adding that only the guilty should be worried.
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lia Mohammed stated this on Friday while reacting to allegations by Obasanjo that the Buhari administration is plotting his arrest on false charges.
Obasanjo made the allegation on Friday in a statement by his aide, claiming that there were plans to detain him indefinitely as punishment for speaking out against what he called the federal government’s maladministration and ineptitude.
But Muhammed said that innocent citizens should have nothing to fear, adding that an African proverb, had it that “a man who has no wife cannot lose an inlaw to the cold hands of death”.
According to Mohammed, Buhari’s administration is strongly committed to the tenets of democracy, including freedom of speech and the right to dissent.
He said, “ But we understand that those who, in their time, were untethered to those principles would find it hard to believe.”
The Minister also added that it was curious that the frame-up and witch-hunt allegations came a day after a major presidential proclamation reversing some past acts of injustice was made, to the relief and acclamation of a long-expectant nation.
Mohammed said, “Apparently, the impact of this proclamation was too much to bear by those who, through acts of omission or commission, helped to deepen the wounds inflicted by the blow of injustice that followed an election that was widely acclaimed to be free, fair and credible, hence they felt the need for a red herring that will distract the nation.
”Added to that is the frustration brought about by the fact that the contraption they have so much hyped as a freeway to power has failed to gain traction.
“Faced with this double tragedy, even the strongest of men may begin to succumb to a figment of their imagination. They may start crying wolf where there is none.”
Mohammed also said the “unprecedented achievements of the Buhari Administration are also enough to cause sleepless nights, with the attendant symptoms that include phantasm, for those who had better opportunities to make the country great but floundered on the altar of narcissism”.
The minister also disclosed that Buhari Administration will not be distracted by “frivolous allegations from any quarter, especially those cleverly choreographed to divert attention from a widely-acclaimed presidential proclamation and to shore up support for a waning and egotistical cause”.
He said, “ This administration is “too busy trying to clear the mess of 16 years and build on its unprecedented achievements over the past three years to waste its energy and time on framing up anyone or dwelling on issues that are not grounded in fact”.
He further said that while “those who have skeletons in their wardrobes should be afraid, even of their own shadows, innocent persons need not worry about any investigation, whether real or imagined”.