20170920

Jonathan, FG disagree on proposed S’west, S’south military operations

The Federal Government and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan have disagreed on the planned military operation in the South-South and the South-West code-named Operation Crocodile Smile.

Jonathan, who spoke on Tuesday, said it's an anomaly for soldiers to be deployed for internal security, a responsibility that is meant for the police, saying the deployment of troops internally was to intimidate the citizens.

But the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, countered Jonathan, arguing that under the past administration, headed by Jonathan, soldiers were deployed in Onitsha, where 16 persons were reportedly killed.

Jonathan criticised his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, for planning to extend the military show of force to the South-South and the South-West.

Jonathan said this in a post on Tuesday which was signed on his behalf by his aide, Reno Omokri.

Jonathan stated, “However, we want to advise the Buhari administration, which has announced plans to extend the military show of force to the South-South and the South-West through Operation Crocodile Smile, to thread with caution.

“Nigeria is no longer under military rule. In a democracy, you separate the military from the police. The military is not meant to fight criminality within a nation because they are trained to fight a nation’s external enemies.

“It is the police that are trained to fight crime internally. When the military starts doing the job of the police and starts fighting or doing what they call a ‘show of force’, the effect will not be to reduce crime. The effect will be to intimidate people.”

Jonathan also slammed Lai Mohammed, for saying the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra started because of the change of administration in 2015.

The ex-President said, “The insinuations in the press conference given by Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Sunday, accusing the opposition of sponsoring the IPOB and the fact that he mentioned that Nnamdi Kanu preached Nigerian unity during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan is another clear indication that the present administration has not left propaganda mode for proper agenda mode two and a half years into its tenure.

“If the government, in which Lai Mohammed serves, knows which opposition members are sponsoring IPOB, then it should identify them, arrest them and then prosecute them.”

Jonathan wondered if Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is a member of APC, could be said to be a sponsor of IPOB since he had come out to say the proscription of the group was illegal.

While commending South-East governors for their efforts in restoring peace, Jonathan said Lai had no moral right to cast aspersions as he had once criticised him for declaring Boko Haram terrorists.