The war of words between Senate President Bukola Saraki and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed over the Offa robbery incidentce appears to be unabated.
Yesterday, the duo took each other to the cleaners over the matter with the Minister urging the Senate President not to dance on the graves of the victims.
For his part, Saraki tasked the Minister to prove all ‘allegations or end the disregard for the victims’.
Handing down his warning in a statement issued by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi, and made available to LEADERSHIP in Lagos, the minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who repeated his earlier warning against playing politics with the unfortunate incident, said that the overly aggressive and crude response from Dr Saraki to the warning has shown that he is not ready to heed the admonition, hence the need to re-state it, and to condemn any attempt to denominate human lives in naira and kobo.
The minister added that in the wake of his warning, the apparently embarrassing radio interview was hurriedly edited to remove all references to the Offa robbery and then re-aired across Kwara State.
He said, ‘’Instead of stopping at that, which in itself constitutes an acceptance of wrong-doing, Dr Saraki went ahead to hurl insults at me, even when I have been largely restrained in issuing my earlier warning. Had I not been restrained, I would have gone ahead to divulge what actually transpired.
‘’For example, the claim by Dr Saraki that he donated N10 million to care for the victims of the Offa robbery is patently false. He did not!
“The N10 million he referred to was donated when the Offa market got burnt, and it was made in Ilorin, not Offa. When Dr Saraki visited Offa to commiserate with the community in the aftermath of the robbery, he did not donate a dime! I challenge him to prove me wrong.
But speaking through Yusuph Olaniyonu, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Saraki advised Lai Mohammed to stop using the tragic loss of lives in the Offa robbery as a political tool.
“After reading the laughable and entirely empty statement issued by the Minister today, we challenge him to bring out the two recordings of the live transmission and the repeat broadcast to show the public where it is doctored.
“Just to be clear, the repeat of the interview was based on popular demand by Kwarans during some of the consultative meetings the Senate President had in the three Senatorial districts of Kwara State.
The Special Adviser also questioned the logic behind Mohammed’s assertion that the N10million donated by Saraki was to aid the people who lost their goods during the inferno in Offa Market and that it was used in Ilorin.
Olaniyonu further challenged Lai Mohammed to stop his grandstanding about his political clout in Kwara, stating that the Minister’s popularity is entirely non-existent.
He called on the Minister of Information to immediately desist from using the tragic loss of lives in the Offa Robbery as a political propaganda tool — emphasizing that it was disrespectful to the victims and their families.
“I am sure the Minister has seen the two professional and conscientious legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation which stated that there is no link of the crime to Saraki and Gov. Abdulfatai Ahmed.
“On this note, if Lai Mohammed has any contrary evidence, we challenge him to go to court or end this blatant disrespect and disregard for the memories of the victims lost in the Offa Robbery incident,” Olaniyonu stated.
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