The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Jonathan Administration of sponsoring ethnic militias to foment trouble before, during and after the general elections, alleging that N9 billion recently paid out to some ex-militants and ethnic militias was aimed at mobilising them to scuttle the polls.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) on Sunday dismissed claims as unfounded.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Lai
Mohammed, the party said the protests by the Movement for Actualisation of the Soverign State of Biafra (MASSOB) last week seeking the sack of INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, was orchestrated by the administration as part of its continuing efforts to sabotage the elections.
It said the next group that had been mobilised to protest against Jega and the use of card reader was the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), which, it said, was also a beneficiary of the N9 billion pay out ostensibly for pipeline protection, but in reality to prepare the ethnic militias for their reprehensible role in scuttling the elections.
The APC said more ethnic militias were to be enlisted by the Jonathan Administration to continue the protest against Jega and the card reader to give the impression that Nigerians want Jega sacked or against the use of the card reader.
The party expressed sadness that a President who inherited a united nation has done everything he can to divide the country along ethnic and religious lines, including patronising ethnic militias who serve no other purpose than to champion sectional interests at the expense of national unity.
It wondered why President Jonathan would pay N9 billion to a handful of people at a time of great economic downturn and falling Naira, as well as in a situation in which many states could not even afford to pay their workers because of dwindling allocation from the Federation Account.
‘’A profligate government that has been bribing people with dollars and ferrying huge funds around practically to buy votes has outdone itself by paying out all of N9 billion to a few Nigerians, with less than three weeks to the elections.
“Shortly after the payment, some self-serving groups started organising protests that, for all intents and purposes, are being orchestrated to scuttle the polls. This is a shameful show by the Federal Government,’’ the APC said.
But the Director of Media and Publicity of the PDPPCO, Femi Fani-Kayode, who reacted in Abuja, also justified the employment and compensation given to families of the victims of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) employment tragedy, saying the APC’s criticism of the gesture was unfortunate.
The PDP campaign organisation said: “Once again, Lai Mohammed has indulged in lies on behalf of his lying party, the APC. It is not true that the PDP or the Federal Government is sponsoring ethnic militias. It is also not true that N9 billion has been allocated for that purpose.
“It is rather the APC that has consistently supported and sponsored the Boko Haram both in substance and in their utterances over the last few years. This recourse to telling a lie everyday by the opposition party will not in any way assist them in achieving their objectives.
“We will remain focused on the issues. We will talk about their weaknesses and we will also talk about the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan, on why it is important that he is re-elected on March 28. That is our focus,” it satated.
“They are running when nobody is chasing them and that is why they are saying these things.
“It is really is a pity that it has degenerated to this point. But the fact of the matter is that no serious-minded persons will take them serious when they talk like this,” it further stated.
On the APC’s claim that the PDP and the Federal Government were trying to garner cheap political profit from the calamity that befell some young Nigerians with the employment and compensations to the families of the affected victims of the NIS employment tragedy, Fani-Kayode said: “It is not the PDP that feeds on the blood of other individuals; it is not the PDP that is a party of ritualists and cultists; it is not the PDP that encourages and supports terrorist organisations that have slaughtered about 35,000 people over the last three years.
“It was the APC that did that when Lai Mohammed said that it was unconstitutional and unjust for the Federal Government to proscribe Boko Haram. We do not feed off calamity; they are the ones that do that and they consistently do that and they will continue to do that and that is why we are saying they are not fit to take power in this country.
“Mr. President’s gesture concerning the victims of the calamity that took place last year when all those young people were killed was a noble gesture and was simply an acknowledgment of the fact that these people died under very, very sad circumstances.
“It was simply an attempt to alleviate the suffering and pain of the families of those that were killed and no right-thinking person will read any other meaning to that,” he stated.