THE All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of exhibiting a shocking act of indiscretion by meeting with former governor of Bornu State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, who was accused of sponsoring the Boko Haram sect.
While expressing dismay at the closeness of the former key member of the APC to the president, the opposition party was particular that such closeness was coming when it was not known that Sheriff had been investigated and cleared of the weighty allegation against him of sponsoring the Boko Haram.
National publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement issued in London, on Tuesday, wondered what message President Jonathan was sending to his compatriots, and indeed, to the international community, when he took the former governor along during his visit to Chad on Monday, to confer with President Idriss Deby on cooperation against terrorism.
The statement read in part: “This action by President Jonathan confirms what the APC has always believed; that the president either knows more than he is willing to admit on the issue of those who are behind the Boko Haram insurgency or he is willing to sacrifice the battle against terrorism on the altar of political expediency. Either way, his action is the height of indiscretion at best or a palpable exhibition of callowness at worst.
“It also confirms our fears that Sheriff was planted as a mole in the APC by his friends in high places, who are jittery about the birth of the party and would do anything to destabilise it.
“The president cannot pretend not to be aware of a report sent home by Nigeria’s Defence Adviser in Ndjamena, Chad, in 2011, detailing the suspicious activities of Sheriff in Chad concerning alleged Boko Haram sponsorship and asking the Federal Government to investigate him.
“It, therefore, beggars belief that President Jonathan will choose to take the same personality along with him to the same Chad on a trip to canvass cooperation against the Boko Haram sect.
“If this is a joke, it is one joke taken too far, especially at a time Nigeria has been loosing territory after territory to Boko Haram; at a time that the same Sheriff has been fingered by another source other than the Nigerian Defence Adviser in Chad and at a time calls are being made for an independent investigation into the allegation that Sheriff and former Army Chief Azubuike Ihejirika are Boko Haram sponsors.
“Or could it be the case of it takes a thief to catch a thief?
“It was apparent that President Jonathan smuggled Sheriff into his entourage, as the official statement announcing the trip never mentioned that the former governor of Borno State would accompany the president on the trip, even while the list of those to accompany him was included in the statement.
“Nobody in Nigeria would have known of this unholy alliance carried too far, if not that the picture of the president, his host and Sheriff surfaced via Twitter, where incredulous Nigerians were wondering what the president was doing with an alleged Boko Haram sponsor at a time the same terrorist group is waging a titanic battle against Nigeria.
“Therefore, the president owes Nigerians an explanation on why he took Sheriff to Chad, what the president knows about the allegation hanging on the former governor’s neck concerning Boko Haram sponsorship and why his administration has not handed him (Sheriff) and Ihejirika over to the International Criminal Court for investigation and possible prosecution, as it is now obvious that the administration is unwilling to probe them,” the party said.