The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the presidency of being economical with the truth in its response to the widespread condemnation of President Goodluck Jonathan for hobnobbing with accused Boko Haram sponsor, Ali Modu Sheriff.
In a statement issued in Dubai on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the Presidency’s stout defence of Mr. Sheriff’s presence at President Jonathan’s meeting with host President Idris Deby of Chad, and the fact that the Presidency’s statement was coordinated with the one by Sheriff’s spokesman, has shown that the APC is right to have called for the trial of Sheriff and other alleged Boko Haram sponsors by the International Criminal Court (ICC) instead of the Nigerian security agencies which are under the Jonathan spell.
It said President Jonathan has not got the liver to investigate and prosecute the accused, who are his friends, adding: “How can you prosecute a person who accompanies you on a high level security meeting to a foreign head of state?
“The Presidency said the security agencies are investigating Sheriff and that the President will not interfere, but what message was the President sending to the security agencies by circulating the picture of the accused with himself? Is that a subtle message to the security agencies that the accused is a friend of the President hence he is untouchable?
“The Presidency said Sheriff has a longstanding business in Chad. Is the Presidency not aware of the memo sent home by the Nigerian Defence Adviser in Chad concerning Sheriff? Why didn’t the Presidency tell Nigerians whether or not the investigation recommended by the Defence Adviser over Sheriff’s alleged sponsorship of Boko Haram was ever carried out, and if so what was the outcome?” APC queried.
It insisted that President Jonathan exhibited palpable indiscretion by allowing himself to be photographed with an accused terrorism sponsor while on a foreign trip to rally support for his country’s anti-terrorism efforts.
“It is really irrelevant whether or not the President took Sheriff along to Chad or he met him there. What matters and what the entire world saw, through the picture that was widely circulated, was that Sheriff sat in with President Jonathan and President Deby at their meeting. That was the clincher.
“The Presidency, in its reaction to the global condemnation of the President’s unholy alliance with an alleged Boko Haram sponsor, should have realized that while President Jonathan has definitely subjected Nigerians to the most harrowing experience, they are not stupid yet.
“Why would the President even allow Sheriff into the venue of his meeting with President Deby? Can anyone just go and be sitting with President Jonathan in a meeting with the Chadian President just because the fellow happens to be in the Chadian capital at the time? What happened to security clearance, protocol etc.?
“Is the Presidency telling Nigerians that if President Jonathan were visiting the South African President Jacob Zuma, and Atiku Abubakar, who is well known to be a good friend of President Zuma, also happens to be in Pretoria at the same time, he will simply drive up to the venue and be part of the meeting?
“The truth is that President Jonathan was wrong to have showcased Sheriff, an accused Boko Haram sponsor, as a face of his Administration while on a foreign trip to rally support against terrorism, unless of course the President wanted to send a subtle signal to those investigating the allegation,” APC said.