This is not the time to disown what I said- Mailafia says he stands by his words
OBADIAH Mailafia, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says he stands by his words and would not retract them despite admitting that he was quoted out of context in the interview he granted Nigeria Info FM radio.
Mailafia stated this while addressing journalists in Jos, Plateau State on Wednesday shortly after he came out of the office of the State State Services (SSS) where he was invited for questioning, over his alleged comments on the sponsorship of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
He had been quoted to have said in a radio interview with Nigeria Info, an Abuja based radio station that one of the serving governors in the North is the sponsor of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
The former CBN deputy governor stated that his place in public service coupled with being a statesman gave him privilege to his claims and assertions.
“We had a lively and intense interview over a radio interview I granted. That interview which was meant for an FM radio station, some just picked the clip — a small section of the 55 minutes broadcast — and put it on social media and it went very very far all over the country, raising a lot of concerns,” he said.
“What I want to say is that, yes, all of those words were made by me. You know if the whole of the 55 minutes was played out, the context of what I said in a small clip that went viral would have become clearer.
“This is not the time to disown what I said. Yes, I was privy to some very sensitive information which all statesmen are entitled to have by virtue of our public roles.
“I know that I should have taken more care to corroborate some of the information I received, but perhaps some of it was uncorroborated. I was in no position to follow them to the camp to corroborate what was going on.
While suing for peace in the Northern part of the country, he called on all Nigerians to come together to build the country as he prayed the country will not experience another civil war.
“But I am not a sensationalist, I am an economist and a central banker; by nature we are not given to sensation. Let me make it clear: I am a humanist; I am a man of peace. Even my name, Mailafia, means a man of peace.
“From the bottom of my heart, I love our country dearly and I abhor all the killings and violence which the innocent people of this country have been subjected to. I pray that Nigeria will never experience another civil war.
“One of the greatest compatriots of this country, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, observes that no country can survive two civil wars. One civil war is bad enough. I also pray that the killings will stop in Zamfara, in Daura, in Katsina, in Birnin Gwari, in my beloved southern Kaduna, in the whole of the middle belt, in Borno, Adamawa and other places,” he said.
“Let us join hands together to build a new country. Let us work together to save our country and I pray that all of us will do our part to maintain the peace and make sure that our country makes progress.
He thanked the official of the State Security Service for the professional manner they treated him as he acknowledged that he was not manhandled throughout the interview.
“I want to thank the officials of the state department. They have done a tremendous job. They treated me professionally. I have not been rough handled and they have been very very fair and gracious to me.”
Mailafia further stated that “the most elementary duty of government is to protect its citizens.”
“When a government fails to protect its citizens, to protect little children, that is a serious matter. Any innocent boy or girl that is killed is my own child.”
However, he said though a small part of the about an hour interview he granted on radio was quoted out of context, he stands by his words and will not be forced to retract them.
Boko Haram insurgency is one of the securities concerns in Nigeria most especially in the northern part of Nigeria.
According to the Global Conflict Tracker website, the insurgents have killed more than 37000 people, estimated 2.5 million displaced persons in the lake Chad basin and 244,000 refugees in Nigeria.