The Federal Government on Wednesday rose to the defence of President Goodluck Jonathan, saying his presence at a Peoples Democratic Party’s rally in Kano State on Tuesday was a loud statement to terrorists that they could not succeed in their bid to stop government from doing what it is supposed to do.
Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, made this known while speaking with State House correspondents shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
Barely 24 hours after a bomb blast killed over 71 people in Nyanya, an Abuja suburb, the president had led a delegation of PDP stalwarts to Kano to officially welcome former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, who recently defected to the party from the All Progressives Congress.
The move attracted public condemnation especially from the main opposition party, APC, which accused the president of being hardhearted and insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
But the information minister said the president’s critics were not fair in their judgment.
He recalled that President Jonathan had on the day of the incident, shelved his planned trip to Ibadan, Oyo State, for the centenary birthday celebration of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Odulana Odugade.
Maku added that the president visited the scene of the incident personally to assess the situation.
He argued that Jonathan himself had suffered psychologically by the terrorists’ acts which he claimed was meant to demoralise and destabilise the government.
The minister argued that the insurgents would continue to unleash violence on the country once they know that government activities grind to a halt whenever they strike.
He also advised politicians to stop exploiting the nation’s darkest moment to score cheap political points.
He said, “You will notice that whenever there is any significant story, something will just come negatively. So the purpose is to demoralise, disrupt government, society and to set people against each other and create paralysis.
“So if we are to say we will do nothing because of the strike, then it means that terrorists would have successes in putting a stall each time they strike on our country.
“Going to Kano was a loud statement that terrorists will not stop this country from moving and from working.
“On the day it happened, the President had already suspended all his activities and focused on it. Politicians will still want to exploit even the most dark moment for political advantage and this is what we should not do.
“We should not be exploiting the emotions of citizens for cheap political points. People will use everything including murder, including trauma like what we have gone through to score cheap political points and this is really very sad.
“Politicians must not exploit the suffering of people just to score cheap political points.
“The President is mourning and is already working with everybody and with every institution to ensure that we not only meet the needs of the living and care for those who have survived but continuously work to perfect our security architecture to ensure greater safety of Nigerians”.