Lai Mohammed, minister of information, says the recent comment by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the Boko Haram crisis is absurd and divisive.
In a statement on Tuesday, the minister said it was tragic that the former president who fought to keep the country as one is the same person seeking to divide it in the twilight of his life.
While delivering a lecture on Saturday in Delta state, Obasanjo had said the Boko Haram crisis had become an agenda for “West African Fulanization, African Islamisation”.
But Mohammed said the comments made by the ex-president were offensive and divisive in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Nigeria.
The minister added that such indiscreet comments are far below the status of an elder statesman.
”Since the Boko Haram crisis, which has been simmering under the watch of Obasanjo, boiled over in 2009, the terrorist organization 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 have spared any victim on the basis of their ethnicity,” the minister said.
“It is therefore absurd to say that Boko Haram and its ISWAP variant have as their goal the ‘Fulanisation and Islamisation’ of Nigeria, West Africa or Africa.
“Shortly after assuming office in 2015, President Buhari’s first trips outside the country were to rally the support of Nigeria’s neighbours – Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger – for the efforts to battle the terrorists. The President also rallied the support of the international community, starting with the G7, and then the US, France and the UN.
”That explains the massive degrading of Boko Haram, which has since lost its capacity to carry out the kind of spectacular attacks for which it became infamous, and the recovery of every inch of captured Nigerian territory from the terrorists.”
The minister urged the former president not to allow personal animosity to override his love for a united Nigeria, saying it will not be out of place if he withdraws his unfortunate statement and apologises to Nigerians.