PDP Replies APC On Boko Haram Sponsorship

Boko HaramThe People’s Democratic Party is not taking the statement by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress on the backers of insurgents in Nigeria lying down.

Less than 24-hours after John Oyegun accused the PDP and its leadership of knowing the sponsors of Boko Haram, the PDP has condemned the APC leader’s accusation, saying the statement is completely lacking in validity, character and intellectual content befitting of a National Chairman of a political party.

The PDP, in a press statement released on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said that Mr Oyegun has succeeded in further exposing the desperation of the APC to launder its image through renewed propaganda and blackmail.

The PDP further said “Nigerians have since noted the pattern and timing of violent attacks against our people which betray a trend tailored against the PDP and the Federal Government and provide impetus for the APC to find a voice and thrive.

“They know that it has become a recurring decimal that whenever the PDP or the Federal Government records or is about to record a major milestone, insurgents launch attacks on the people”

The PDP, however, advised the APC to be nationalistic in its dealings and shun statements of divisive tendencies.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, had, on Tuesday, challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to act decisively and hand two alleged sponsors of the Boko Haram group to the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, for investigation and prosecution.

The party said that a foreign negotiator engaged by the Federal Government had revealed that a former governor and a retired General were sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.

Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, who made the disclosure, insisted that the APC was not behind the Boko Haram sect and demanded that the Federal Government should act immediately to end the growing insecurity in the North-East.

Mr Oyegun, who was speaking during a press conference in Abuja, further noted that “Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing.”

APC Challenges Jonathan To Handover Alleged Boko Haram Sponsors To ICC

John_OyegunThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to act decisively and hand two alleged sponsors of the Boko Haram group to the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, for investigation and prosecution.

The party said that a foreign negotiator engaged by the Federal Government had revealed that a former governor and a retired General were sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.

Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, who made this disclosure, insisted that the APC was not behind the Boko Haram sect and demanded that the Federal Government should act now to end the growing insecurity in the North-East.

Mr Oyegun, who was speaking during a press conference in Abuja, further noted that “Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing.

“President Jonathan cannot pretend not to know the alleged role that Ali Modu Sheriff has played in the establishment and growth of Boko Haram, yet he never allowed the man to even be questioned by any of the security agencies under his control.”

The APC further noted that they have been “vindicated” adding that “we have no hand in the Boko Haram insurgency. The raison d’etre of our party is the well-being and security of Nigerians

“The sponsors of Boko Haram are within the PDP and the Presidency. They are known friends of President Jonathan. He knows them and they know him.

“The man who exposed these Boko Haram sponsors is a Jonathan-appointed Negotiator. He has no axe to grind, neither does he have any motive to shield the APC or portray the PDP/Presidency in bad light. In fact, if he had any sympathy at all, it is for the man who hired him, President Jonathan.”

Below is the full text of Mr Oyegun.

Finally, The Truth Is Out!

Good afternoon Gentlemen of the press, and thank you for honouring my invitation to this press conference.

Before I address you today, kindly permit me to play the full interview of Dr. Stephen Davis, the Australian negotiator who was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan to help secure the release of the over 200 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram on April 15th.

The interview was aired on Arise Television on Thursday Aug. 28th.
INTERLUDE: PLAY VIDEO
Thank you for your patience, gentlemen.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) like many well-meaning Nigerians had resolved long ago that the issue of the Boko Haram insurgency should not be politicized. In view of this, the APC expressed its willingness and readiness to cooperate with the Federal Government in neutralizing the insurgency. Regrettably however, instead of accepting this offer of cooperation, the PDP-Federal Government has consistently pointed accusing fingers at our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the sponsor of Boko Haram. They have called us all sorts of derogatory names, but failed to provide any shred of evidence to support their claim.

It has been very clear to us that the vehemence and persistence of this accusation, the deliberate distortion of statements made by our leaders to paint us as Boko Haram sponsors and the way the PDP-led Federal Government has gone to hire foreign PR firms, at a huge cost to taxpayers, as well as foreign and local hack writers to push this narrative, they were struggling hard to cover up something. We waited patiently knowing that the truth will one day surface.

In a rare moment of truth, a top official of the Jonathan Administration, no less a personality than the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, situated the Boko Haram problem within the PDP. Shortly thereafter he was fired, and he later died in controversial circumstances. Still we waited.

They distorted and misrepresented the statements made by our leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to try to convince the world that he was indeed the main sponsor of Boko Haram. They continued to echo the same slander about Gen. Buhari that was started by Presidential Spokesman Reuben Abati in 2011, and for which he and his cohorts eventually begged to settle out of court and to apologize to the General. Still we waited.

When their attempt to link Gen. Buhari with Boko Haram failed, as his popularity among ordinary Nigerians continued to soar, he was suddenly attacked by suicide bombers. Those who planned the attack believed this as the final solution to what they perceived as the threat he represents to the realization of their ambition. By the grace of God, he survived. We do not claim to know those who attacked him, but we do know those who provided the atmosphere for that attack to take place. Still we waited.

When the government declared a state of emergency in three worst-hit states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in 2013, thousands of troops were deployed to the three states. But the unusual happened. The number of attacks simply skyrocketed. It is common knowledge that in any territory that has been placed under a state of emergency, the military takes charge of security, erecting checkpoints as part of efforts to keep a tab on security. Such was the situation in Borno in April 2014, when over 200 girls were abducted and driven away in many trucks. Soldiers posted to a nearby checkpoint were said to have withdrawn shortly before the attack. Who ordered their withdrawal? Some of the trucks in which the girls were being carted away broke down, yet no one challenged them. Despite this bizarre occurrence, they refused to accept responsibility and continued to cast aspersion on our Party, the APC, as the sponsor of Boko Haram. Still we waited.

Boko Haram routinely enriched their arsenal with tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers, guns, trucks and other military equipment which they seized from the Army. From the videos they release from time to time, one could see Boko Haram insurgents driving around unchallenged in convoys of up to 60 vehicles made-up of tanks and other military vehicles they seized from our military, in a territory that is under a state of emergency. What is happening? No one could fathom it. Still we waited.

A man known to all as the kingpin of Boko Haram, a man who helped to arm them so he could win elections and decimate his opponents, was moving around with the best security ever. He is a known ally of the President and he is not known to be under any immunity. Yet he was never arrested or even questioned. Still we waited.

In line with a Yoruba adage that says when a drum starts sounding too hard, it is about to burst, the PDP and the Presidency ratcheted up their attacks on our party, labelling us as Boko Haram sponsors. They hired a foreign firm, Levick, for US$1.2 million in taxpayers’ money, as well as a number of out-of-luck hack writers and pseudo analysts, one of them from Russia, to help push the narrative. Still we waited.

Then their drum exploded!

Dr. Stephen Davis, a man hired by the President Jonathan-led Federal Government to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of the Chibok girls decided to speak out, believing the best way to tackle the insurgency is to expose the sponsors. And who are they? On international television last Thursday, and as you have just seen and heard, he named former Borno Governor Ali Modu Sheriff and a former Army Chief, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, as the sponsors of Boko Haram.

Prodded by Sahara Reporters in a subsequent interview on whether Gen. Buhari and Malam Nasir el-Rufai were sponsors, he said the Boko Haram commanders who gave him the names of their sponsors did not mention their names. The die is cast. The truth is finally out! Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing. His myriad of intelligence agencies, including the DSS and the DMI, cannot pretend they do not have any information on these men.

It is true that Ali Modu Sheriff was, until recently, a member of our Party. But the Party always suspected that he was a mole, planted to hijack or at best weaken the new Party for the PDP. He is not new to that role. He helped to decimate his former party, the ANPP, to an extent that the number of states under its control fell from seven in 2003 to three by the time he left as Governor.

We know for sure that Ali Modu Sheriff was planted in the APC to help decimate our party. We confronted him openly during the merger negotiation but he denied vigorously. His surrogate for the post of the Chairman of the APC, Chief Tom Ikimi together with whom they planned to hijack the Party for the Presidency was firmly rejected. Realizing they have failed, they fled our party and returned to where they came from, and were duly embraced by their controllers.

President Jonathan cannot pretend not to know the alleged role that Ali Modu Sheriff has played in the establishment and growth of Boko Haram, yet he never allowed the man to even be questioned by any of the security agencies under his control. All through his time with our Party, every time they accused us of sponsoring Boko Haram, on the basis of his presence, we challenged them if they had evidence to arrest any of our members who is suspected to be a sponsor, they never did. They dared not, because Sheriff was their agent. Even if he had remained in the APC after we democratically encouraged him to go, they would still not have arrested him.

Recall, gentlemen, that immediately Sheriff went back to the PDP, the Maiduguri Airport that had been closed to even the pilgrims from the state on grounds of security, was re-opened specially for him. What more evidence does anyone need that Sheriff was and remains President Jonathan’s Man Friday?

Our Stand

The truth is finally out. We have been vindicated. We have no hand in the Boko Haram insurgency. The raison d’etre of our party is the well-being and security of Nigerians

The sponsors of Boko Haram are within the PDP and the Presidency. They are known friends of President Jonathan. He knows them and they know him.

The man who exposed these Boko Haram sponsors is a Jonathan-appointed Negotiator. He has no axe to grind, neither does he have any motive to shield the APC or portray the PDP/Presidency in bad light. In fact, if he had any sympathy at all, it is for the man who hired him, President Jonathan.

We have said it all along. Boko Haram was politicized purely for one reason, and one reason only: To be used as a trump card for President Jonathan to win another term. For that strategy to work, the APC, which they see as the only stumbling block to the PDP’s victory in 2015, must be maligned and labeled. Gullible, duplicitous and self-serving politicians like Femi Fani-Kayode swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker, and started parroting the glaring lies. PDP Spokesman, Olisa Metuh, an obvious pawn on the chess board, followed suit, labelling a party that comprises Nigerians of all ethnic and religious hue a Janjaweed and Islamic party. Now he is stewing in his own juice.

In the process of this dangerous politics, the Nigerian military which was globally acclaimed for its impressive showings at various peacekeeping missions around the world, simply suffered collateral damage. Apparently, fifth columnists in the military has sold the force out, first by denying it of the necessary fighting tools and then weakening it to such an extent that even the little it had was being taken away daily by insurgents. When the patriotic Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno tried to raise the issue of the poorly-equipped troops and their low morale, he was roundly pilloried. Now the world knows why!

Now that the cat has been let out of the bag and the real sponsors of Boko Haram have been exposed, we hope President Jonathan will summon the courage to do the right thing: Hand over the identified Boko Haram sponsors to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation and prosecution.

There is no doubt that Boko Haram has committed crimes against humanity in its scorched-earth campaign against unharmed citizens, and the most appropriate body to investigate and try the sect’s sponsors is the ICC.

According to Article 17 of the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, and to which Nigeria is signatory, the ICC is a court of last resort, expected to exercise its jurisdiction only if states themselves are unwilling or unable genuinely to investigate and prosecute international crimes.

In view of the fact that the alleged Boko Haram sponsors are either members of the ruling party or friends of the President, it is clear that the PDP-led Federal Government is unwilling and unable to try them, hence our call.

Nigerians can rest assured that the APC will not allow this issue to be swept under the carpet.

Now that it is clear that the PDP is behind Boko Haram for the sole purpose of winning next year’s Presidential Election, Nigerians must prevail on the PDP and the Presidency to urgently end this insurgency and the daily killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians!

The President must remember that he is the Commander-in-Chief! The buck stops on his desk. He must now do all it takes to stop the growing mess in our nation’s North-East.

Nigerians expect no less!

Senator Queries Use Of Military Training Aircraft By Politicians

A Senator, Olubunmi Adetumbi (ACN Ekiti) on Tuesday condemned the use of a military training helicopter by civilians during the burial of the father of a presidential adviser, Oronto Douglas.

Speaking during a debate on the urgent need to investigate the recent helicopter crash in Bayelsa, Senator Adetumbi said the death of the former Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser Andrew Azazi and others was as a result of the failure of the system to address the issue of corruption.

According to him, the crashed helicopter is called a military training helicopter, but it is obviously not being used for military training on that day.

He said that pertinent questions, such as who authorised the use of the helicopter for civilian purposes must be asked and answers given.
“Who gave the order for the chopper to be used? What is the purpose of private charter helicopter? Why was a private chopper not hired? Is it what the Navy appropriation is being used for?” Senator Adetumbi asked.

He called on the National Assembly to do more than paying tribute to the deceased and observing one minute silence in their honour, but to take action to forestall future occurrences.

Other lawmakers who contributed to the debate condemned what they described as the resurgence of air mishaps in the country calling on the government to publish all previous reports of investigative panels into air crashes in the Nigeria.

Chris Anyanwu (APGA – Imo) said that in 2007 and 2011, there had been two crashes of similar Augusta helicopters owned by the navy. She expressed concerns over the seeming recurrence of air mishaps not just in civil aviation, but also in the Nigerian Military in spite of public outcry.

“Between March and October 2011, there were three reported cases of air mishaps by the Air force at different locations in the country and the causes of these crashes remain unknown. On March 21, 2011, one F7-NI fighter jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force that was on a routine training programme crashed in Kano, killing the flight instructor.

“The fighter jet, which was reported to have come from Makurdi for a two week training exercise was delivered to the Air force by the manufacturers in China only a few days before the incident,” she said.

According to her, it is worrisome that the resurgence of air mishaps in the country is suggestive of a deep seated systems problem which must be unearthed and resolved.

Contributing to the debate, Heineken Lokpobiri (PDP-Bayelsa) urged the committee to ensure that its investigation was devoid of bias and should not be politicised.

“We should use this crash to stop others from occurring because this has become embarrassing, so the committee’s investigation must be total,’’ he said.

Danjuma Goje (PDP-Gombe) also advised the committee to make the investigation open and transparent. Goje said he was in support of the position of the Governors Forum that foreign experts should be involved in the investigation.

Ganiyu Solomon (ACN Lagos) also said that there had been several crashes and investigations followed, but the reports had never seen the light of the day.

He was of the view that the Senate committees on Navy, Air force and Aviation mandated to investigate the frequency of these mishaps should go as far as visiting the manufacturers of these planes to ascertain their air worthiness.

He expressed concerns that if military planes were crashing frequently, it was an indication that the military was not prepared for military action should the need arise.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary said that more than 50,000 Nigerians had died in the last two years since the ugly trend of terrorism reared its head.

He however, called on the regulatory agencies in the aviation sector to ensure the airworthiness of every plane that took off and landed in the country.

The deputy senate president also noted the need for the Senate to buckle up and tackle the problem once and for all.

The Senate set up two committees to pay condolence visits to all the victims of the air crash and observed a minute silence in their honour.

Azazi blames Boko Haram attacks on PDP

The National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoye Azazi has blamed the rise of insurgence by the fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram in the country on the internal wranglings of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties.

The retired General made this known during the second day of the South-south economic summit where the collapse of the nation’s security challenge was deliberated on.

Tracing the rise of Boko Haram’s attack, the chief security adviser to the president stated that “the extent of violence did not increase in Nigeria until when there was a declaration by the current president that he was going to contest.”

“PDP got it wrong from the beginning, from the on-set by saying Mr A can rule, Mr A cannot rule ……according to PDP’s convention, rules and regulation and not according to the constitution and that created the climate for what has manifest itself, this way.”

He added that there is some level of political undertone to the problem.

He also noted that the bombings, suicide attacks and jail breaks that have been raging the northern part of the country “could be traced to the politics of exclusion of the PDP in the region.”

Blaming the notion of anointing candidates and the ‘do or die’ attitude of the political party, Retired General Azazi asked why “is it possible that somebody was thinking that only Mr. A could win, and that if he could not win, there would be problems in this society?”

“Let’s examine all these issues to see whether the level of violence in the North East just escalated because Boko Haram suddenly became better trained, better equipped and better funded, or something else was responsible.”

“It takes very long for somebody to be a sniper,” Mr. Azazi said.

He affirmed the level of sophistication of the group but also gave assurance that the government is aware of all their doings in a bid to addressing the issue. “I can assure you that Boko Haram can garner that level of sophistication over time, if it has not got it already. There are a lot we know that they are doing, and there are a lot that could be done to address the problem.”

“But, then I must also be quick to point out that today, even if all the leaders that we know in Boko Haram are arrested, I don’t think the problem would end, because there are tentacles. I don’t think that people would be satisfied, because the situations that created the problems are not just about the religion, poverty or the desire to rule Nigeria. I think it’s a combination of everything. Except you address all those things comprehensively, it would not work” he added.

On a final solution, the security adviser discourage just the use of force but called for a collective effort to address the economic problems of the north saying “it is not enough for us to have a problem in 2009 and you send soldiers to stop the situation, then tomorrow you drive everybody underground. You must look at what structures you need to put in place to address the problem holistically. There are economic problems in the North, which are not the exclusive prerogative of the Northerners. We must solve our problems as a country.”

He noted that the relationship between national security and development is inseparable, because “one cannot do without the other” the NSA said.