Saturday, September 23THE LEGISLATURE

Offa Robbery: Prove Your Allegations or End Disregard for Victims, Saraki’s Media Assistant to Lai Mohammed


Yusuph Olaniyonu, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has advised Alhaji Lai Mohammed to stop using the tragic loss of lives in the Offa robbery as a political tool, while also urging him to prove his claim that subsequent broadcasts of the Senate President’s syndicated Christmas morning interview were manipulated.

In a statement signed by him, Olaniyonu called on Mohammed to respect the memories of the victims of the Offa robbery.

He said: “After reading the laughable and entirely empty statement issued by the Minister today, we challenge him, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to bring out the two recordings of the live transmission and the repeat broadcast to show the public where it is doctored.

“Just to be clear, the repeat of the interview was based on popular demand by Kwarans during some of the consultative meetings the Senate President had in the three Senatorial districts of Kwara State.

“Mr. Mohammed should be well-aware that this interview was aired live, hence, his insinuation that certain sections were subsequently doctored puts the reputation of the 5 radio stations that aired the interview and the 4 that aired the repeat in jeopardy. This also includes Harmony FM, an FRCN station that is under the Minister of Information’s supervision,” Olaniyonu said.

The Special Adviser also questioned the logic behind Mohammed’s assertion that the N10million donated by Saraki was to aid the people who lost their goods during the inferno in Offa Market and that it was used in Ilorin.

“How possible can it be for something that was donated in Offa to be used in Ilorin? Additionally, while Lai Mohammed is trying to determine whether or not there is a speck in another person’s eye, he should do the public a favour and remove the speck in his own eye by telling the public what he has done or donated to alleviate the plight of the people of Offa at any time. If he is attacking Saraki for donating millions to the victims of a burnt market in Offa and not those who sustained injury during the robbery incident, what has he done at any time to help the people of that town since he became one of the ‘guest politicians’ in the state?”

Olaniyonu further challenged Lai Mohammed to stop his grandstanding about his political clout in Kwara, stating that the Minister’s popularity is entirely non-existent.

“Lai Mohammed keeps on grandstanding with false and baseless assertions of his entirely non-existent popularity. If he is as popular in Kwara as he claims, why and how did he perform so woefully in the 2003 polls as gubernatorial candidate? If he is indeed known and accepted in Kwara, why is it that his son is running for a House of Assembly seat in Lagos — and not in Kwara?”

Olaniyonu called on the Minister of Information to immediately desist from using the tragic loss of lives in the Offa Robbery as a political propaganda tool — emphasizing that it was disrespectful to the victims and their families.

“As a lawyer, Lai Mohammed knows that his careless utterances have the potential to taint the already hyper-politicized case of the Offa robbery. The rush to falsely implicate the Senate President in the news has the potential of spoiling the actual criminal case against the real perpetrators.

“I am sure the Minister has seen the two professional and conscientious legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation which stated that there is no link of the crime to Saraki and Gov. Abdulfatai Ahmed.

“On this note, if Lai Mohammed has any contrary evidence, we challenge him to go to court or end this blatant disrespect and disregard for the memories of the victims lost in the Offa Robbery incident,” Olaniyonu stated.

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