By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Monsur Olowoopejo
Lagos based human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, yesterday, revealed how Former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff was arrested in 2012 by the Cameroonian government for the crime committed by the deadly Boko Haram sect.
Meantime, ahead of the 2015 election, former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Professor Tam David-West, Professor Akin Oyebode and Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, have, unanimously, urged Nigerians to wake up from their slumber and use the next year’s election to bring relief to their unwholesome circumstances.
Ali Modu Sherrif at the conference
Falana and other eminent personalities spoke at the 5th Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Lecture, titled; ‘State of the Nation and 2015 general elections: Issues, posers and challenges before us, held in Lagos.
“In October 2012, Sheriff was arrested in Cameroun on crime committed by the Boko Haram he sponsored. The state government pleaded with the Camerounian government to release him because he is a well known man here and he cannot be arrested.” Falana stated.
The Lagos based lawyer said that the former governor was not sincere in his relationship with the Boko Haram sect in the country.
Sue me not Davis
He however, asked Sheriff to sue him rather than planning to seek redress in court by suing the Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davies, even as he reaffirmed that Sheriff sponsored of the Boko Haram activities.
This came few days after Sheriff said he would seek redress in court by suing the Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davies, who recently fingered him as one of the sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgency. According to Falana, “I am expecting Senator Ali Madu Sheriff to sue me. I heard that he wanted to sue an Australian (Dr. Steven Davies). He doesn’t need that. He should sue me. I am waiting for him to sue me. Not only did he fund that organization (Boko Haram), he also had a deal with them.” He noted that Sheriff cannot denial all the allegations made against him, saying. “In 2003, he had a deal with the Boko Haram leaders to help him win the election and that if he wins his re-election, he will compensate the organization.
\When he won the election, he appointed one of them as Commissioner for Religious Affairs to implement Sharia in that state.”
He however, accused the Federal Government of shielding certain facts from its citizens.
Falana said “The Federal Government is yet to react to the statement by Dr. Stephen Davies against Sheriff. I expect the central government to have made its position known on the issue.”
The lawyer therefore, called for concerted effort to tackle the menace of Boko Haram, saying, “People’s Democratic Party, PDP and All Progressives Congress, APC should stop politicizing the Boko Haram issue but what is important is unity to tackle the menace”
In his remarks, David-West lamented the nefarious activities of Boko Haram sect in the country, saying, “We do not have a nation. If we have a nation, the problem confronting the country will have been resolved earlier than now.”
He added, “In fact, we are not at crossroad but we have missed the road. There is no road at the moment for the country to attain greatness.”
Explaining the reason for the longevity of the challenges facing the country, David-West said, “What do you expect from a country ruled by a Ph.d holder who said that 16 is greater than 19. The country when the president budget N1 billion for food in a year and cannot pay N18, 000 minimum wage. Daily I have begun to lose faith in our election and leadership.
ON 2015 ELECTION
David -West dispelled the claim that the country will fail to exist after 2015 election, saying, “we will not break in 2015.”
But he said “The citizens need to wake up from their slumber. We are too complacent and this was the reason why the current public office holders take the citizens for granted.
He continued; “Election affords citizens the opportunity to change government which they do not like. I do not believe in revolution but the citizens must go on the street to stop bad government. If 2015 election will be selection rather than election, Nigerians must rise up to stop it. It has to be election and not selection.”
Oyebode while delivering his lecture said the power to change any government resides in the citizens. “And this they can do through their vote.”.
According to him, “The 2015 election constitute yet another opportunity for Nigerians to see themselves as master in the political game rather than servants of the governing class.”