The Nigerian government has reacted to an allegation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that the Buhari administration was plotting his arrest on false charges.
The former leader said there are plans to detain him indefinitely as punishment for speaking out against the government’s maladministration and ineptitude.
But Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who reacted on behalf of the government said the Buhari administration will not be distracted by “frivolous allegations from any quarter, especially those cleverly choreographed to divert attention from a widely-acclaimed presidential proclamation and to shore up support for a waning and egotistical cause”.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Friday, Mohammed said the administration is “too busy trying to clear the mess of 16 years and build on its unprecedented achievements over the past three years to waste its energy and time on framing up anyone or dwelling on issues that are not grounded in fact”.
“Those who have skeletons in their wardrobes should be afraid, even of their own shadows, innocent persons need not worry about any investigation, whether real or imagined.
”This administration will never engage in a frame-up of innocent citizens. That is neither in the character of President Muhammadu Buhari nor in that of his administration. Only the guilty should be worried. To paraphrase an African proverb, a man who has no wife cannot lose an inlaw to the cold hands of death,’ he said.
He emphasised that the administration is also strongly committed to the tenets of democracy, including freedom of speech and the right to dissent. But we understand that those who, in their time, were untethered to those principles would find it hard to believe,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
According to him, it was curious that the frame-up and witch-hunt allegations came a day after a major presidential proclamation reversing some past acts of injustice was made, to the relief and acclamation of a long-expectant nation.
”Apparently, the impact of this proclamation was too much to bear by those who, through acts of omission or commission, helped to deepen the wounds inflicted by the blow of injustice that followed an election that was widely acclaimed to be free, fair and credible, hence they felt the need for a red herring that will distract the nation.
”Added to that is the frustration brought about by the fact that the contraption they have so much hyped as a freeway to power has failed to gain traction. Faced with this double tragedy, even the strongest of men may begin to succumb to a figment of their imagination. They may start crying wolf where there is none,” he said.