The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of fraternizing with an alleged Boko Haram sponsor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who has not been investigated and cleared of the weighty allegation against him.
In a statement issued yesterday by APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party wondered what message Jonathan was sending to his compatriots and indeed to the international community when he took Sheriff with him on his visit to Chad on Monday to confer with President Idriss Deby on cooperation against terrorism.
“This action by President Jonathan confirms what the APC has always believed: that the president either knows more than he is willing to admit on the issue of those who are behind the Boko Haram insurgency or he is willing to sacrifice the battle against terrorism on the altar of political expediency.
“Either way, this action by the president is the height of indiscretion at best, or a palpable exhibition of callowness at worst.
“It also confirms our fears that Modu Sheriff was planted as a mole in the APC by his friends in high places, who are jittery about the birth of the party and would do anything to destabilise it,” it said.
“If this is a joke, it is one joke taken too far, especially at a time that Nigeria has been losing territories after territories to Boko Haram; at a time that the same Modu Sheriff has been fingered by another source other than the Nigerian Defence Adviser in Chad; and at a time that calls are being made for an independent investigation into the allegation that Modu Sheriff and former army chief Azubuike Ihejirika are Boko Haram sponsors. Or could it be the case of it takes a thief to catch a thief?” it queried.
APC said believes that the President must have smuggled Modu Sheriff into his entourage bearing in mind the fact that the statement about the trip did not contain him as a meber of the President’s entourage.
“Nobody in Nigeria would have known of this unholy alliance carried too far if not that the picture of the president, his host and Modu Sheriff surfaced via Twitter, where incredulous Nigerians were wondering what the president was doing with an alleged Boko Haram sponsor at a time the same terrorist group is waging a titanic battle against Nigeria.
“Therefore, the president owes Nigerians an explanation on why he took Modu Sheriff to Chad, what the president knows about the allegation hanging on the former governor’s neck concerning Boko Haram sponsorship and why his administration has not handed him (Sheriff) and Ihejirika to the International Criminal Court for investigation and possible prosecution, since it is now obvious that the administration is unwilling to probe them,” the party said.
Speaking in the same vein, Human Rights Lawyer, Mr Femi Falana SAN described the decision by the president to include Sheriff in his entourage as the height of insensitivity on the part the president.
“By this act, President Jonathan has demonstrated once again, that he doesn’t give a damn about public opinion, He has to be brought to justice sooner than later,” adding, “Alhaji Modu Sheriff’s presidential connection has not conferred immunity on him.”