The Presidency and Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, are in a fresh war of words over allegations that President Goodluck Jonathan is training snipers and keeping 1,000 people on a watch list.
While the governor stated that he was the number one person on the President’s watch list and that he had evidence to support this assertion, the Presidency said the governor was like a drunken man in a china shop who was only interested in bringing down everybody with him.
The Presidency further dared the governor to prove his allegation.
The governor, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH through his Chief of Staff, Government House, Chief Tony Okocha, in Port Harcourt, on Thursday, said that he was waiting for the invitation of the National Human Rights Commission.
Obasanjo had, in a letter dated December 2, 2013, accused Jonathan of putting 1,000 people on a watch list and having a killer-squad. Obasanjo had also accused the President of training snipers. The President has denied these allegations, calling on the former president to provide evidence to back his allegations.
But at the All Progressives Congress rally, held at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt on Saturday, Amaechi said that he was number one on Jonathan’s watch list.
He had said: “I read the President’s letter; he said Obasanjo should prove and name those on the list. I am number one on the list. I am number one.”
Okocha told Saturday PUNCH that the governor had enough evidence to back his statement.
He said, “The governor knows what he is talking about and this is not just a claim; it is what is happening. There are indices the governor will use to buttress his point. We will not make many comments now until the invitation from the NHRC comes.”
He stated, “One thing you should know is that Governor Amaechi does not say one thing today on an issue and say another thing tomorrow on the same issue. You are aware of the battle between us and the police. Considering all we have passed through in the hands of the police, would anybody doubt the fact that the governor is on the Presidency’s watch list?”
However, the Presidency dared Amaechi to go ahead and prove his allegation that he is one of the 1,000 persons on the alleged political watch list of the President.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, threw the challenge in an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday.
Gulak said it was clear to all that Amaechi had completely lost bearing and that Nigerians were aware of the governor’s antics.
According to him, no sane man would be talking like the governor is talking to the President.
He said, “Let him (Amaechi) go ahead and prove his claim. I don’t really want to talk about him because he has lost credibility. He is just like a drunken man in a china shop that wants to bring down everybody with him.
“Nigerians are aware of his antics. He has completely lost bearing and the support of the people. When a leader loses the support of his people while still in office, he will react like a mad dog. No sane man will be talking to the President the way Amaechi is doing.”
Meanwhile, NHRC has said that it will meet in January to consider the request to investigate allegations of human rights abuses raised by Obasanjo against the President in a letter to the latter.
The President had on Tuesday through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), asked the NHRC to investigate Obasanjo’s allegations.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the Governing Board of the commission chaired by Prof. Chidi Odinkalu had yet to see the memo sent to it by the Attorney-General of the Federation.
A source said, “The commission has not taken any decision because the board has yet to meet to evaluate the concerns raised in the memo. This is holiday period; the board can only see the memo in January”.
Saturday PUNCH further learnt that the NHRC would decide the procedure to be adopted in investigating the allegations contained in the letter written by Obasanjo.
A source in the commission disclosed this to one of our correspondents on Thursday. The source did not disclose when the council would meet over the matter, but it is expected that the meeting will take place after the festive season.
The source, who did not wish to be named, explained that the Governing Council would decide whether it would invite Obasanjo to a meeting or adopt a public hearing procedure.
The Commission’s Director of Public Affairs and Communication, Mohammed Ladan, told our correspondent on the telephone that he was on leave, and as a result, was not in a position to confirm the procedure to be adopted in the planned investigation.
“I don’t know the pattern it will take, I am actually on leave right now,” he said in response to our correspondent’s enquiries.
Efforts by our correspondent to get in touch with the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, to whom the AGF’s memo was addressed, were not successful.
Calls to his mobile telephone did not go through.
Acting on the instruction of the President, the AGF, had in a memo dated December 23, 2013, and addressed to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, requested the commission to investigate the allegations bordering on human rights violations contained on pages 9-10 of Obasanjo’s letter.
In the memo, Adoke had said, “I am to request you to investigate the allegations bordering on human rights violations contained on pages 9-10 of the letter dated December 2, 2013, written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, attached to the memorandum under reference.”
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