The All Progressives Congress, APC, has again accused the presidency of not being truthful to Nigerians in its statement defending how former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, who is under investigation on allegations of financing terrorism, emerged in pictures in company of President Goodluck Jonathan on a recent official trip to Chad.
National publicity secretary of the APC, Lai Mohammed, insisted that President Jonathan exhibited indiscretion by allowing himself to be photographed with an accused Boko Haram sponsor while on a foreign trip to rally support for his country’s anti-terrorism efforts.
“It is really irrelevant whether or not the President took Sheriff along to Chad or he met him there. What matters and what the entire world saw, through the picture that was widely circulated, was that Sheriff sat in with President Jonathan and President Deby at their meeting. That was the clincher,” Mohammed said
The party further queried, “Why would the President even allow Sheriff into the venue of his meeting with President Deby? Can anyone just go and be sitting with President Jonathan in a meeting with the Chadian President just because the fellow happens to be in the Chadian capital at the time? What happened to security clearance, protocol?”
The APC said the Presidency was being economical with the truth and that the statement released by the special adviser to the President on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, on Thursday, shows that the party was right to have called for the trial of Sheriff and other alleged Boko Haram sponsors by the International Criminal Court, ICC, instead of the Nigerian security agencies which are under the control of President Jonathan.
The Presidency had denied the allegation that Jonathan allowed former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, accused of being a financier of the Boko Haram terrorist group, on his entourage on a recent trip to Ndjamena, in Chad to discuss ways to combat terrorism in the region.
Presidential spokesman, Abati, said although, that Sheriff was only among other Nigerians who received President Jonathan at the airport in Ndjamena and that he was not on the presidential entourage.
“Those who associate with Senator Sheriff know that he has longstanding interests in Chad and often spends a lot of his time there. He happened to be in Ndjamena at the time of President Jonathan’s visit and joined other Nigerian residents of the Chadian capital in coming to the airport to welcome their President,” Abati explained.
But pictures published by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, have shown President Jonathan seated with ex-governor Sheriff and the Chadian President in what looked like a closed-door meeting.