BY SONI DANIEL, REGIONAL EDITOR, NORTH
Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, yesterday, slammed President Goodluck Jonathan for awarding multi-million Naira pipeline protection contracts to Niger Delta militants of Ijaw extraction, describing the action as illegal and self-serving.
Mohammed, who spoke in an exclusive interview with Vanguard, noted that it was unbecoming of the administration to single out certain virulent individuals and groups from a particular section of the country for undeserving economic and financial gratification and empowerment while others languish in abject poverty and deprivation under a democratic government.
The politician noted with dismay that the Nigerian police and other security agencies whose duties is to protect oil facilities and other national infrastructure, have been divested of such statutory roles ostensibly for the selfish interest of some groups and individuals who committed unmitigated atrocities against the country.
The former National Assembly adviser to President Shagari noted that apart from having no place in the laws of Nigeria, the outsourcing of such security jobs to private armies portended serious danger to the nation.
Mohammed stated that: “By flagrantly subverting the constitution to award mouth-watering pipeline protection jobs to terrorist groups, this administration is merely trying to overreach itself. This is a dangerous precedent in the annals of Nigeria.
“Any attempt to justify this on any ground will portend great danger for Nigeria and its people and it is important for Nigerians to rise up and speak against the emerging evil.
“As far as we know, trying to glorify or reward terrorism directly or indirectly will have far-reaching negative consequences for the country and dent our image as a peace-loving people.
“I am happy that former President Obasanjo has already spoken against the evil of rewarding terrorists with government jobs so as to win their support but let us not forget that trying to corrode democracy will certainly hurt the country in many ways”.
On the face-off between the Presidency and the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, Mohammed described the ugly political development as unfortunate and a calculated attempt by Jonathan to witch-hunt and blackmail the governor for daring to have a mind of his own.
He said: “It is disheartening that the Presidency and its allies have resorted to blackmail, intimidation and wholesale abuse of those who disagree with Jonathan ahead of the 2015 election, which they claim they don’t want to talk about.
“I salute Amaechi for the courage to resist blackmail and scaremongering even from his fellow PDP members, whose party, we have always known lacks internal democracy”.
Questioning what the governor has done to be persecuted by the Presidency, Mohammed asked Nigerians of good conscience to stand up and resist the attempt by a few elements in the ruling party to muzzle the voice of dissent.
He asked, “what has Amaechi done to be so persecuted by the Presidency? If they believe strongly that Amaechi has broken any law of the land they should take him to court and stop embarking on the persecution of an innocent man, whose only offence is that he is alleged to be planning to contest election.
“They should immediately restore the state’s aircraft to the governor because as far as we know, the man has not broken any law of the PDP or Nigeria to warrant the kind of onslaught being unleashed on him by the Presidency.
“What Jonathan should remember is that nobody occupies the Presidency for life and that some of these ill-advised actions would certainly hit back. No condition is permanent” .
Obasanjo had at a church service last week condemned Jonathan’s government for giving out juicy pipeline contracts to Niger Delta militants, saying that it was a form of corruption.
According to him, the job should be undertaken by the security agencies, as part of their core mandate to the nation.