4 September 2016
The Federal Government has described as sadly out of tune with reality the published letter from U.S. Congressman Tom Marino to Secretary of State John Kerry, asking the U.S. to withhold security assistance to Nigeria on the strength of some imaginary infraction by the Buhari Administration.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement issued in Abuja that Congressman Marino was poorly informed about the issues he commented on.
Mohammed expressed curiosity as to why Marino did not take the pains to get first-hand information from the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria or any other credible source before engaging in what is nothing but a “propaganda of his own imagination’’.
The minister said by asking the U.S. to refrain from selling warplanes and other military equipment to Nigeria based on a faulty premise, the Congressman has demonstrated a poor understanding of global security issues.
“Insecurity anywhere is insecurity everywhere. Had Congressman Marino understood this, he would not have made the kind of call he made concerning the U.S. security assistance to Nigeria.
“The Boko Haram insurgency that Nigeria has decisively dealt with under President Muhammadu Buhari is not just a Nigerian problem but a regional and international crisis,’’ Mohammed said.
He added that Congressman Marino definitely did not have Nigeria in mind when he wrote that the U.S. should withhold security assistance to Nigeria until President Buhari `demonstrates a commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech’.
“An Administration that operates purely on the basis of respect for the rule of law and a strict adherence to constitutional order is not one to deny the citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights.
“This Administration, therefore, does not need the goading of Congressman Marino or anyone for that matter to do what is right.
“Concerning running an inclusive government, had Congressman Marino done his homework before dispatching his letter, he would have realised that no part of the country is left out in the distribution of political appointments.
“For example, the appointment of ministers was done in accordance with the Constitution that mandates that the president to appoint at least one minister from each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Had the Congressman sought information from credible sources before engaging in a flight of fancy, he would have been presented with a comprehensive information on the appointment of CEOs for Federal Government’s parastatals, agencies and commissions that shows that the appointments were almost evenly matched along the line of the six geo-political zones in the country.
“The northwest has 51, north central; 46, northeast; 45, southeast; 41, southwest; 45 and south-south 45,’’ he said.
“The Congressman may wish to note that each geo-political zone comprises 6 states, with the exception of northwest (7) and southeast (5),’’ he added.
The Minister described Congressman Marino’s description of the administration’s anti-corruption efforts as `selective’ as a tired argument that clearly showed that the U.S. lawmaker must have appended his signature to someone’s concocted line.
“That line was invented by those seeking to cause an unnecessary distraction from the administration’s anti-corruption efforts, and it has been roundly rejected.
“Congressman Marino’s decision to exhume the dead postulation without an iota of proof is a reflection of whose side he has taken in the ongoing efforts to rid Nigeria of corrupt elements.
“Needless to say that the anti-corruption battle will continue unhindered, irrespective of whose ox is gored. And in this fight, only the guilty needs be afraid,’’ the stressed.
He said also that Nigeria is delighted that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to whom the Congressman addressed his letter, is more knowledgeable, better briefed and definitely more hands-on concerning Nigerian issues.