Following a statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to counter reports of Nigeria being a failed state as reported by Global Times, Aisha Yesufu has slammed him.
The popular activist, who was a guest on AIT’s programme ‘State of the Nation,’ which was monitored by Decency Global News, described Mohammed as the spokesperson to the government of doom, calling on him to respect his age.
Yesufu called on the Buhari administration to stop trivialising deaths as a result of insecurity, saying that it was low of the Buhari government to keep comparing death figures during the time of ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan, whose era she stressed was over.
She insisted that Nigeria is already a failed state as citizens cannot travel without the fear of being kidnapped, bandits attacking Nigerians in their houses, as well as the abduction of the over 300 schoolboys from Government Science School Kankara, Katsina State.
Below is an excerpt of the interview with AIT and transcribed by Decency Global News
Q: The Minister made mention of those who are saying that Nigeria is a failed state and they asked a question at the end – if Nigeria is a failing state? Now, what would you say of when almost one-third of the nation was under the reign of Boko Haram?
Aisha Yesufu: First of all, what I would like to say is there would not be analysts of doom if there wasn’t a government of doom. Buhari’s government is a government of doom and Lai Mohammed is a spokesman to the government of doom. So he needs to understand that, that is why there are analysts of doom.
So, coming to the issue of the fact that local governments were under the control of Boko Haram. One of the things that Lai Mohammed needs to understand is that there are some of us who lived this history and we will not allow it to be changed. There were local governments under Boko Haram and in Feb. 2015, the Jonathan administration decided to give 6 weeks postponement of the election for them to fight the war and within that period, that war was fought and these local governments were brought in.
It’s unimaginable that for something that is factual, with empirical evidence, a Minister of Information will come on Live TV and lie about such things.
During the 6 weeks postponement of elections was when Jonathan’s government decided to fight the war that has been on ground all the while and they were able to bring this back.
As of May 29, 2015, when the mantle of power was handed onto Buhari, there was nothing under occupation. He can go and recheck again, and the war was fought. Those who were actually fighting the war, the likes of Col. Abu Ali and Co. were suddenly being killed in mysterious ways and citizens were demanding to know what was going on? Were they deliberately being sabotaged?
I remember when Col Abu Ali was brought into Abuja, the President himself went to Edo State for politics showing where the preference of this government really is on.
Coming back to the issue of Nigeria being a failed state, Lai Mohammed sits there and speaks but can he travel from Kaduna to Abuja on the road? He can’t.
Today, we have our military men and women using trains because they cannot use the road. We have over 300 children being taken away from their school on the day that the President went to Katsina State. The terrorists were so brazen. They knew that we have an ineffective commander-in-chief and they went ahead with it.
Nigeria is not a failing state, Nigeria is a failed state.
Q: If I take you back to the question where the Minister said when there were bombs in Abuja, you went to the centre of the city to demand the return of the girls who were kidnapped. Why did not travel to their state in the North-East and there haven’t been bombs in Abuja, so why are people saying Nigeria is a failed state?
Aisha: Ijeoma please calm down. For the fact that you’re sitting in your studio and not a victim, don’t abuse the sensibilities of those who are victims.
Ijeoma, I will take exception to that because I say those things that the media keeps on doing. I don’t know if you people are the spokesperson for the government or not. What do you mean by we were sitting comfortably in Abuja?
People are being killed, the Kankara children. If your children were being taken away from school, will you sit there and tell the government that there are doing well. Kankara boys were taken away, do you know the trauma they went through? They had to travel on foot for hours and there was nothing for the government to go and meet them. Dapchi girls were taken away. People are being killed and taken away on Abuja roads, Auchi-Benin road, people cannot travel, Abuja-Lokoja, Lokoja-Okene-Auchi, people cannot travel because they are being killed and we sit down there mincing words. We are just joking because we are not yet victims.
The thing is that dead people can’t talk and those of us who are alive, we should not be afraid of the government. The fact that Lai Mohammed put this NBC fine on our media does not mean that our media should shut down their voice and allow themselves to be used?
What are we talking about? There is poverty in the country, there is insecurity in the country, even the President himself doesn’t feel safe. How often has he gone to Daura? He went there and on the day he went to Katsina state, in his own state, terrorists attacked and they took away a whole over 300 children and we are here mincing words talking about Jonathan.
Look, Jonathan’s era is over. There was insecurity during Jonathan and that was the reason people voted against Jonathan and voted Buhari. Right now, the insecurity has worsened. It used to be on the fringes, in the Northeast, today we have the Northwest, the Northcentral, practically every region is facing a whole lot of insecurity and we are hear mincing words. We are here saying whose own is better, whose death is better.
Death is death, Insecurity is Insecurity and it has worsened now to the extent that citizens can no longer travel, They now save money to pay ransoms. One of the things we need to understand is the fact that we no longer have bombings in the FCT is not because this government has done anything, rather the terrorists have changed strategy. Our fertile lands are now in their hands. Even people who are farming, before you harvest your crops, you have to pay the terrorists, you have to pay the bandits, whatever name it is that they call them.
Isn’t this a definition of a failed state? That today we have farmers having to pay bandits hundreds of thousands of money before they can go to the farm and harvest their crops. The same government hat said that by its achievement it is under agriculture, yet people can’t go their farms, people are being killed in their farms and you are telling that oh! because I can go to the park in Abuja. I always walk in the park in Abuja. The fact that I wasn’t killed in 2014 doesn’t mean people aren’t being killed. The fact that you and I are alive don’t people weren’t killed. And I will always repeat what I said.
Yesterday’s victims were once survivors, today’s victims were yesterday’s survivors, tomorrow’s victims will be today’s survivors and those that have been killed will not be killed again. The rest of us that are alive are the ones that will be killed tomorrow. When we are dead, it will not matter if NBC is going to fine us. It will not matter if Lai Mohammed threatens people. The fact is that when we are gone, we are gone forever and dead people do not talk.
It is in our own interest for us to be audible, especially, the media.
We will continue to make demands as citizens and no government is going to intimidate us in any way whatsoever. We have a right and no Nigerian is more Nigerian than any Nigerian and Lai Mohammed should respect his age. Thank you.