- Published on Monday,
Former military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has expressed concern over what he described as the twin challenges of insecurity and bad leadership plaguing the country.
Babangida said the problems are threatening the very fabric of the country’s foundation.
He has also denied any link with dreaded sect, Boko Haram.
Babangida, who was reacting to an interview by one Sheik Sani Haliru that he is one of the sponsors of Boko Haram, said nothing can be farther from the truth.
Babangida, in a statement by his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, said that he would not have responded to the allegation because it would amount to giving undue relevance to “a confused mind.”
But he said the reaction became necessary because of his teeming supporters, friends and associates.
In the statement titled: RE: IBB SPONSORING BOKO HARAM, OUR RESPONSE, Babangida said: “We feel a deep sense of concern that the country is going through these obvious challenges of insecurity and bad leadership that are threatening the very fabric of the country’s foundation. We have read and assimilated the effusions of a deluded mind by name Sheik Sani Haliru, who for want of very cheap relevance decided to mention the highly respected name of IBB as one of the “sponsors” of what he called Boko Haram. From our first reading, we felt it would amount to giving undue relevance to a confused mind if we volunteer a response, but for our teeming supporters, associates and friends of IBB, and for the price we owe history, we decided to offer this disclaimer.
“First, General IBB cannot in his frame of mind remember any of such names called Sheik Sani Haliru whether as an Almajiri or a jihadist or both. Reading through the interview, one is easily confronted with a number of inconsistencies and well orchestrated conclusions that are spuriously out of place. One, Dele Giwa did not die of suicide bombing as claimed by Sani Haliru. It is public knowledge that he died of parcel bomb and the latest insight by Rev.Chris Omeben as published in Sunday Sun of 5th February, 2012 will form an instructive reading. Secondly, we have every cause to believe that the interview was carefully scripted to convey the message intended and not one conducted under a question and answer basis. The responses of the said Sani Haliru attest to this fact. From that premise therefore, it will be save to conclude that the interview was structured by certain agents of government to satisfy pre-determined position. Thirdly, the questions by the interviewer are also leading questions, tending to achieve the predetermined end of the initiators of the interview. The emphasis on seeing Islam as a religion of violence is a clear indication of this motive. Fourthly, on the one hand, the interviewee declared himself to be a converted Christian, while on the other hand, he was asking for someone that will connect him to God. He talked about his fear of going to jail, why will a man of God be afraid of incarceration or jail if the cause he is pursuing is truly altruistic? How could someone with facts about Boko Haram be saying that he is afraid the SSS will arrest him if he ventured those facts, when the whole wide world is patiently waiting to get a road map out of the Boko Haram pogrom? There are also instances where third person narrative tenor is given to Sheik Sani Haliru, thus making the whole exercise curiously misleading and utterly unconscionable to warrant any serious recognition.
“In all of these, so many conjectures, hearsays, deductions, impressions and lies were bandied in the said interview thus making the entire contents suspect. For example, his reference to the October 1st bombing in Abuja is totally at variance with what the State Security Service has unraveled about the masterminds of that dastardly incident. We are therefore at sea to reconcile any of the claims as truly reflective of any sound mind save that we have every reason to believe that this is purely a well-scripted interview to give our revered IBB a bad name. What the real motive of the interview is remains to us very worrisome because we cannot in any way rationalize the immediate or remote intentions of the interviewee and the interviewer.
“For purposes of record, General IBB wishes to disclaim whoever that might have granted such interview and wish to emphatically state that there is no iota of truth in whatever the interviewee must have put down. There is no connection whatsoever between himself and the so-called Sheik Sani Haliru. It will serve good purpose if the said Sani Haliru could disclose his age in 1985, 1987 and 1992, because his claim of 44 years of Boko Haram activities could be self-contradicting if we are able to know his real age. 1985 till date is a record 27 years. By the time we subtract that age from 44 , the guess is as good as mine. One couldn’t possibly know what feat a 17 years old boy would perform in 1985 to warrant any linkage with IBB. It will also be of good use if he could disclose the instances where IBB is directly and indirectly connected or linked to his activities, how much money he was given, who gave the money and what period of time?
“The uncomplimentary adjectives he used to describe General IBB further expose the underpinning lies in the interview. Every Nigerian that has had opportunity of interacting with this great Nigerian called IBB from North to South, East to West, would concede to the bare-faced fact that General IBB is generally a likeable person, generous, kind and very hearty personality whose contributions to national development and unity of Nigeria remain unparalleled in the history of Nigeria. For such a leader who has put his all in the development and unity of the country to now get involved in such heinous activities as described by the so-called Sani Haliru stands logic on its head. All the insinuations as to the deliberate effort of IBB trying to Islamise Nigeria are clear indications that Sani Haliru is suffering from self-delusion. Perhaps, he did not realize the fact that IBB’s Vice-Presidents and some of his key players in his cabinet were Christians. He also might have forgotten that it was in the same regime that our broken diplomatic ties with Israel were restored to allow Nigerians embark on Holy Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. If we are to follow all the writings in the Bible, and interpret them likewise, one will be tempted to say that the Bible is preaching violence too. But the word of God cannot be interpreted on its face value, hence men should be wary about drawing conclusions that are informed by their limited understanding of the word of God.
“We therefore wish to inform the public to disregard and ignore whoever might be the face behind that name called Sheik Sani Haliru and the message of doom that he seems desperate to propagate. We wish to assure our teeming members’ world-wide that as elder statesman, General IBB will not desist from offering his plausible contributions to national discourse and that no amount of blackmail can take that leadership away from this great icon. The unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigeria is very dear to General IBB and having fought in the 30months civil war of the late sixties, he would do everything humanly possible to avert any descent to anarchy in our fatherland.
“We challenge both the interviewee and interviewer to disclose the documents they claim to have to prove us wrong, otherwise, they should keep their mouths shut forever.”