The federal government says Tom Marino, a US congressman, is “out of tune with reality’’ for asking his country to withhold security support to Nigeria over alleged excesses of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Marino had written a letter to John Kerry, US secretary of state, alleging infractions on some principles and local and international regulations and conventions by the current administration.
Responding, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said the allegations by Marino were imaginary and that he was poorly informed about the issues he commented on.
He wondered why the congressman 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 is nothing but a propaganda of his own imagination’’.
Mohammed said by asking the US to refrain from selling warplanes and other military equipment to Nigeria based on a faulty premise, the lawmaker demonstrated a poor understanding of global security issues.
“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,” Mohammed said in a statement. “The Boko Haram insurgency that Nigeria has decisively dealt with under President Muhammadu Buhari is not just a Nigerian problem but a regional and international crisis.”
Mohammed said Marino was wrong when he alleged that Buhari did not “demonstrate 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,” he said. “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 homework before dispatching his letter, he would have realised that no part of the country is left out in the distribution of political appointments.
“The appointment of ministers 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 comprehensive information on the appointment of CEOs for federal government’s parastatals, agencies and commissions.
“The appointments 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.
“The congressman may wish to note that each geo-political zone comprises six states, with the exception of north-west (7) and south-east (5).”
He added that Marino’s description of the Buhari’s administration’s anti-corruption efforts as “selective’’ was a tired argument that clearly showed that the US lawmaker must have appended his signature to someone’s concocted line.
“That line was invented by those seeking to cause an unnecessary distraction from the administration’s anti-corruption efforts, and it has been roundly rejected,” he said.
“Congressman Marino’s decision to exhume the dead postulation without an iota of proof is a reflection of whose side he has taken in the ongoing efforts to rid Nigeria of corrupt elements.
“Needless to say that the anti-corruption battle will continue unhindered, irrespective of whose ox is gored. And in this fight, only the guilty needs be afraid.”
Mohammed expressed delight that Kerry, whom the letter was addressed to, was more knowledgeable, better briefed and definitely more hands-on concerning Nigerian issues.