Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has criticised his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, for planning to extend the military show of force to the South-South and the South-West.
Jonathan said this in a Facebook post on Tuesday which was signed on his behalf by his aide, Reno Omokri.
The former President was emboldened by the statement by Senate President Bukola Saraki who had said the military had no right to declare the Indigenous People of Biafra as a terror group.
He said, “However, we want to advise the Buhari administration, which has announced plans to extend the military show of force to the South-South and the South-West through Operation Crocodile Smile, to tread with caution.
“Nigeria is no longer under military rule. In a democracy, you separate the military from the police. The military is not meant to fight criminality within a nation because they are trained to fight a nation’s external enemies.
“It is the police that is trained to fight crime internally. When the military starts doing the job of the police and starts fighting or doing what they call a ‘show of force’, the effect will not be to reduce crime. The effect will be to intimidate people.”
Jonathan also lambasted the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for saying the activities of IPOB started because he lost the 2015 election.
Mohammed had said looters and disgruntled elements in the opposition were the chief sponsors of IPOB.
The former President said, “The insinuations in the press conference given by Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Sunday, accusing the opposition of sponsoring the IPOB and the fact that he mentioned that Nnamdi Kanu preached Nigerian unity during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan is another clear indication that the present administration has not left propaganda mode for proper agenda mode two and a half year into their tenure.
“If the government, in which Lai Mohammed serves, knows which opposition members are sponsoring IPOB, then they should identify them, arrest them and then prosecute them.”
Jonathan wondered if Saraki, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress, could be said to be a sponsor of IPOB since he had come out to say the proscription of the group was illegal.
While commending the South-East governors for their efforts in restoring peace, Jonathan said Mohammed had no moral right to cast aspersions as the minister had once criticised him for declaring Boko Haram a terrorist group.
He added, “It is our suspicion that Lai Mohammed is talking from history seeing as he criticized the Jonathan government for banning Boko Haram in a statement he released on June 10, 2013, even though the Jonathan government had gone through the due process before proscribing that murderous sect. Perhaps Lai Mohammed thinks everybody is like him and those he represents.”
He asked the minister to concentrate more on serving the nation than on propaganda. (Punch)