The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has reiterated its call on security agencies to investigate the allegation by a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, that a northern governor is a Commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Among other claims made by the former CBN deputy governor was that during the lockdown, the insurgents were moving and distributing arms and ammunition across the country and that their planes were moving up and down as if there was no lockdown.
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DSS berates Mailafia, warns against inciting comments
The former CBN deputy governor had in a radio interview with Nigeria Info 99.3 in Lagos on Monday further said he was privy to information that the alleged terrorist group planned to instigate a civil war in the country by 2022.
Following the allegations, the Department of State Services (DSS) had invited Mailafia to its Plateau State command where he was grilled for seven hours and later released.
The governors maintained their position through the Director of Press Public Affairs to the Governor of Plateau State and chairman of the forum, Makut Simon Macham, who told our correspondent that the governors had not changed their stand and were still on it.
According to him, that is their decision for now and they have not decided otherwise.
Earlier in a statement by the chairman of the NGF and Governor of Plateau State Simon Lalong, the forum said it was concerned about the weighty allegation made by Mailafia which must be thoroughly investigated.
“We as northern governors have met severally to discuss insecurity in the northern region and the nation at large where we did not only condemn the activities of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, bandits, armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals, but also engaged the president and all heads of security agencies in finding solution to the problem.
“To now say that one of our members is leading Boko Haram in Nigeria is a serious allegation that cannot be swept under the carpet.
We demand immediate and thorough investigation,” the statement said.
Mailafia’s lawyer, Yakubu Bawa, said they were not told to report back for any further interrogation after his release.
The DSS on Friday expressed reservations at the conduct of Mailafia, who the service said had ‘profusely apologised’ during his visit to the security outfit, only to come out later and tell the public that he “stood by his misguided eruption.”
The law should take its course – ACF
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), said the law should take its course concerning the comments made by Dr. Mailafia.
However, Mailafia had on Thursday said his information was based on an interaction he had with some Fulani traders at his village market.
In an interview he granted the BBC Hausa service and monitored by Daily Trust, he said he didn’t know that his interview was being recorded and that it would go viral even though he said he could not deny making the comment.
The ACF through it National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe said Nigeria is a democratic country run by laws, and therefore anyone who falls foul of the law should face the consequence.
Yawe described as disappointing that Mailafia made such weighty allegations while boasting of earning a PhD from Oxford University only to later say he got his information from a market square.
The ACF stated the statements made by Mailafia were frightening, adding, “He was even talking of a civil war, planes flying arms and money. These are weighty allegations to come from someone of his position. So we are not the law and we leave it to the process of the law.”
The group warned Nigerians, especially those in high positions, to watch their words and be mindful of the fact that their comments could ignite serious crisis in the country.
DSS warns elite, groups against inciting comments
The Department of State Services (DSS) on Friday warned that it would clamp down on notable personalities and groups who incite breakdown of law and order in the country.
A statement from the spokesman of the service, Peter Afunanya, said in line with its mandate of detecting and preventing threats and crimes; “The service hereby reiterates its previous warning that it would henceforth not condone unruly conducts of persons and groups that ought to know better.”
“The service will not stand idly and watch disgruntled and aggrieved elements take laws into their hands and cause mayhem in the polity,” he said.
He added, “It will not hesitate to, within the confines of the law, decisively deal with such persons and/or groups, no matter how highly placed that may wish to test its resolve.”
He noted that Dr. Obadiah Mailafia’s recent outburst aimed at playing to the gallery and creating unnecessary tension was a confirmation of his group’s desperation to breach the peace.
He said Mailafia, a directing staff member at Nigeria’s foremost policy research institute, the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, had unhindered access to government platforms.
“It is expected that he should be conversant with official information management protocols. But regrettably, he chose to cross the lines of decorum and conduct expected of a personality of his status.
“It is disappointing that he never took advantage of these to reach any of the security or related agencies to share the so-called information at his disposal.”
“This, he has agreed to be a grievous error on his part. It, however, suggests his mischief and determination to use the fake news he spewed to incite the people under his control,” Afunanya added.
He said, “It is even more condemnable that Mailafia, who had profusely apologized during his visit to the service’s Plateau State Command for his ignoble statement, would, afterward, announce to the world that he stood by his misguided eruption.”
He said, “The service also wishes to warn others who in the guise of political mobilization and supposed pursuit of group interests, engage in hostile and subversive activities, to desist forthwith from advancing their inimical and parochial causes.”
The DSS had earlier said it uncovered plans by some persons to destabilize the country, taking advantage of the latest developments in parts of the country.
A statement issued on July 28 by Peter Afunanya, said, “These subversive and unscrupulous elements have resorted to divisive acts through inciting statements.
“The service is working with other law enforcement agencies to ensure that the objective of the unscrupulous agents is not achieved.
The DSS warned that it would no longer tolerate the orchestrations of unscrupulous elements to cause a breakdown of law and order in the country.
I told them what I know – Mailafia
When contacted by our correspondent via a text message on Friday, Mailafia said he told the DSS what he knew and had no other thing to say.
“Please, I will not join issues with what the gentlemen of DSS have said. As far as I am concerned, I told them what I know. And I have no other thing to say,” the text message read.
‘Don’t jeopardize govt’s efforts on security’
Nigerians have been urged to be cautious in their discussions on matters of national security, as uninformed debate is contributing to distraction and jeopardizing the war against terrorists in the North East.
A Public Commentator, Maiwada Dammallam, on Friday in Abuja, also warned on the implications of misinformation and misimpression on social media on the ongoing war against insecurity.
“We are fighting two wars. There is the actual war being fought especially in the dreaded Sambisa forest and the periphery of the Lake Chad and there is the war being fought on the equally dreaded pages of the social media,” Danmallam said.
According to him, the social media war is where every ‘soldier’ is a General with exclusive right to the blueprint of winning the war, but that in the real war, soldiers are either dying or being maimed for Nigeria to survive.
Danmallam, who is also the Ma’aji Galadima Katsina, said Nigerians cannot be complaining about lack of synergy among security agencies on one hand, and on another accuse them of unanimous deception.
He said, “It is either they are working in disarray or they are united in purpose good or evil. We have to make up our minds on this to be seen as tying the laces of our shoes to begin the trip to find the answers we are looking for.
“No insurgency situation like the one we face has been successfully defeated only by the use of force. Equally important is the pursuit of a well-structured mop-up of dangerous weapons believed to be in massive circulation in the country.”
Constitution allows right to hold opinions, impart ideas – Ozekhome, Falana
Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome and Femi Falana, have said the Nigerian Constitution allows the citizens to freely express their opinions.
They described the N5m fine imposed on Nigeria Info FM 99.3 radio station by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as illegal.
Ozekhome said Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 permits the right of every Nigerian to hold opinions and impart ideas and information.
“I am always concerned that the government is getting more and more touchy and intolerant of opposing views. When you feel you have failed, you start muzzling opinions.
“The former deputy governor came up to say that a governor is sponsoring Boko Haram, you are supposed to pet him so that we can get to the bottom of this problem. Rather than do that, you resort to harassment, intimidation and brow-beating.
“So, if you criticize the government for non-performance, how can that be hate-speech? If you say that killings are going on in the North, which is clear even to the blind, how can that be hate speech?
“If you say marauders, terrorists, bandits and kidnappers are killing, maiming Nigerians, how can that be hate speech? We are not in a despotic or fascist state. I beg this government to take it easy with the people,” he said.
Falana in a statement said only a competent court of law is empowered to try, convict and impose a fine on a criminal suspect after a trial has been conducted before a competent court.
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