The federal government has described the letter from US Congressman, Tom Marino to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry asking the US to withhold security assistance to Nigeria on the strength of some imaginary infraction by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as sadly out of tune with reality.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Congressman Marino was poorly informed about the issues he commented on, wondering why he did not take the pains to get first hand information from the US Embassy in Nigeria or any other credible source before engaging in what the Minister described as “propaganda of his own imagination.”
Alhaji Mohammed said Nigeria is delighted that US 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.
The Minister said by asking the US 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.
According to him, “Insecurity anywhere is insecurity everywhere. Had Congressman Marino understood this, he would not have made the kind of call he made concerning the US security assistance to Nigeria. The Boko Haram insurgency that Nigeria has decisively dealt with under President Buhari is not just a Nigerian problem but a regional and international crisis.”
Alhaji Mohammed said Congressman Marino definitely did not have Nigeria in mind when he wrote that the US 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 home work 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, or in the appointment of Ministers, which was done in accordance with the Constitution that mandates that the President must 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 governments parastatals, agencies and commissions that shows that the appoints were almost evenly matched along the line of the six geo-political zones in the country: With the North West having 51, North Central 46, North East 45, South East 41, South West 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 North West (7) and South East (5).’’