In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed urged former president Olusegun Obasanjo to retract statements he made about Boko Haram in a recent speech and offer an apology to Nigerians.
Backstory: Obasanjo was quoted saying that the Boko Haram and herdsmen crises which began as responses to socioeconomic hardships have now become efforts at “Fulanisation” and African Islamisation and global organized crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining, and regime change.”
In his response, the Minister of Information described Boko Haram and ISWAP (Islamic State’s West African Province) as terrorist organizations who care little about ethnicity or religion when committing crimes.
- Boko Haram had been “simmering” since Obasanjo was in power and only blew over in 2009
- The group has killed more Muslims than adherents of any other religion; blown up more mosques than any other houses of worship and is not known to spare victims on the basis of their ethnicity
- As a result of the above, it is “absurd” to say that Boko Haram and its ISWAP variant have as their goal the Fulanisation and Islamisation of Nigeria, West Africa or Africa.
The Minister described Obasanjo’s comments as insensitive and mischievous and offensive and divisive.
He called on the former President not to allow personal animosity to override his love for a united Nigeria. Adding that it will not be out of place if he withdraws his statement and apologizes to Nigerians.