The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has blasted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, for claiming not to understand the Boko Haram phenomenon, a situation he said was nurtured by his party.
The minister who said this at a press briefing on Monday in Abuja, added that the former vice president should not feign ignorance as it was under his party’s watch the Boko Haram insurgency started in 2009.
The PUNCH recalls that Atiku, during a town hall meeting recently claimed he did not understand the Boko Haram phenomenon, lamenting that despite the efforts of the Nigerian Army, the insurgency had not been eliminated.
He said, “I still cannot understand why we should have Boko Haram. You see, I served in Borno State in the North-East and as a customs officer I was patrolling the entire North-East, so I am very conversant with the vegetation and with the border areas. I still cannot find a place in the Borno areas where anybody can hide and cannot be seen. I cannot understand honestly, the Boko Haram phenomenon.”
But speaking at an event meant to showcase the achievement of the president Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), the minister noted that the former vice president does not need to go far to understand what happened, asking him to discuss with the hierarchy of the party why it allowed Boko Haram to operate freely, bombing cities, motor parks, schools and other soft targets.
He said, “Well, the excellency does not need to go far to get answers to his questions, he should ask his party, the Peoples Democratic Party under whose watch the Boko Haram insurgency started in 2009.
“For six years, until 2015, when our administration assumed office and inherited Boko Haram, the PDP more or less nurtured the insurgents into the monster they later became. Alhaji Atiku should ask his party why it allowed Boko Haram to operate freely, bombing cities, motor parks, schools and other soft targets.
“Alhaji Atiku who was then residing in Abuja, before porting to his new abode in Dubai, should ask his party, the PDP, why it allowed Boko Haram to bomb the police headquarters, the UN complex, a shopping mall and motor parks in Abuja, with such ease.”
The minister of information added that the presidential candidate should instead thank patriotic troops for creating a peaceful environment for economic activities to thrive in the North-East region.
“His excellency will want to know that today, thanks to our patriotic troops, military objectives have been achieved in the North-East, the home region of Boko Haram thereby creating conditions for stabilisation operations to take place.
“Boko Haram terrorists have been cleared from most of their strongholds, where remnants are being stuck in Lake Chad area that are difficult to access.
“While on the campaign trail, and throwing political japs, we advise His Excellency Atiku Abubakar to note the popular idiom that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones,” he concluded.