The presidency has lashed out at a chieftain for the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), Akin Osuntokun, for allegedly claiming that there was a bomb blast in Maiduguri on Sallah day which killed about 88 people.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement, said “lies of that kind” betrays a mind taken completely over by ill wishes against his own country.
While assuring the CNM leader and Nigerians that Sallah Day had passed quietly and peacefully, without even a firecracker going off, which he claimed was contrary to what used to happen before the Buhari-led administration, Mr Adeshina said enemies of peace and progress had expected a return to the infamous past, thus Mr Osuntokun appeared on television with his bag of lies.
“When those on the programme remonstrated with him that they were not aware of any bomb blast on that day, he stood his ground, all in a futile bid to puncture the successes recorded by government in the area of security. Till the Sallah holidays ended, no bomb blast was recorded in any part of the country, to the shame and discomfiture of the naysayers.
“One wonders: if there were bomb blasts, and more than 80 people truly died, what would be the gain of anybody, except those who have become blinded by malediction and morbid wishes? Is carnage something now to glory about? Is the struggle for power now so ghoulish that some people have lost their humanity over it?,” he said.
Mr Adesina asked Mr Osuntokun “and his ilk” to realise that “this is the only country we have, and we can’t swallow poison and expect it to kill the next person. What we sow is what we reap.”
He expressed satisfaction at the fact that those for a peaceful, united and cohesive Nigeria are more than those against it.
When contacted, Mr Osuntokun, a former aide to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, said he read the reports about the attack on social media. He also denied using the word “bomb blast” to describe the attack.
He said he read two reports online and must have “mixed up the figures.”
“The incidents happen with such frequency that it is difficult to keep pace with the orgy of bloodletting all over the country almost on a daily basis. Take not that he made no mention of the one reported by Reuters on the same day that 68 people died.
“If I’m the enemy of the people by highlighting the failure of the government, what then do you call a government under whose dispensation Nigeria has become an abbatoir? Whether it is 68 or 88 people that were killed, should a serious government be quibbling over the figures?
“This is yet another confirmation of the cruel and blundering insensitivity of this government-ignoring leprosy while chasing after guinea worm, as the Yorubas would say. And remember this is a government that claimed it has defeated Boko Haram since two years ago,” he said.