The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has denied comparing seccessionist agitators with Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.
In a statement late Wednesday, the Speaker said there was no time in his welcome address to his colleagues Wednesday morning that he mentioned any group.
The statement read: It has come to the attention of the Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives, that some media reports on Wednesday, September 15, claimed that the Speaker, in his welcome address to his colleagues at Wednesday’s plenary, purportedly said IPOB and Yoruba nation agitators are the same with Boko haram.
In view of the impression created by the said reports, it has become necessary to clarify that the Speaker, in his speech, never mentioned any group.
For the records, the Speaker said some miscreants and criminals are taking advantage of the separationist agitations to carry their activities.
Hereunder is what the Speaker said:
“We must now add to these concerns an emerging threat that presents the same clear and present danger. In the South of Nigeria, East and West, MISCREANTS AND CRIMINALS MASQUERADING AS SEPARATIONIST ACTIVISTS have emerged to wreak havoc, take lives and commit economic sabotage against fellow Nigerians and the state.
“These people, in their inclination for devastating violence against fellow citizens, their appetite for the destruction of private property, their disruption of academic activities, commerce, and industry, their propensity for defiling institutions of the state, society and community, their refusal to engage in debate, or to consider the possibility of dissenting opinions and alternative viewpoints, are no different from Boko Haram and ISWAP. Given space and time, they will take our nation down the same path of destruction.”
From the above, there was nowhere that the Speaker mentioned the name of any group. What was conspicuous in the Speaker’s speech was the focus of the activities of MISCREANTS AND CRIMINALS, and its effect on the country.
The Speaker never condemned secessionists or compared them to terrorists.
As a matter of fact, the Speaker is not alone on the concern about an apparent emergence of a band of miscreants and criminals as different patriotic Nigerians have expressed similar concerns and even condemned the act of maiming, killing, destruction of property and other criminalities perpetrated by the masquerades.