- Written by Christian Okeke with agency reports -
With the wave of terrorism attacks in the country escalating and in fulfillment of France’s promise to assist Nigeria to battle the trend, a French naval ship is expected to land in Lagos today with 279 soldiers on board.
The French Landing Personnel Deck (LPD), SIROCO, would be arriving enroute Douala, Cameroon, for a port call. It is a168-meter-long ship with Navy Captain Henri Fouques Duparc as captain.
279 people are on board and a breakdown shows that they comprise 30 officers; 144 petty officers and 105 leading seamen and sailors.
The arrival of the ship was confirmed by French Embassy in Abuja, through an email sent by Mr Larrouze Vincent.
In a related development, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, has debunked the news in the social media as regards the assertion of one Sheik Sani Haliru, alleging that was one of the financiers/sponsors of the Boko Haram Islamic sect, stating that the allegation was spurious and unfounded.
Social media, especially Facebook, has been inundated with a purported interview granted by the sheik, who named Babangida as one of the sponsors of Boko Haram sect.
In a statement posted on the Facebook wall of the former military president on Monday, his media assistant, Mr Kazeem Afegbua, said “we have read and assimilated the effusions of a deluded mind by name Sheik Sani Haliru, who, for want of very cheap relevance, decided to mention the highly respected name of IBB as one of the ‘sponsors’ of what he called Boko Haram. From our first reading, we felt it would amount to giving undue relevance to a confused mind if we volunteer a response, but for our teeming supporters, associates and friends of IBB, and for the price we owe history, we decided to offer this disclaimer.”
The statement said Babangida could not remember such names that claimed to know him, whether as almajiri or a jihadist, but said that “reading through the interview, one is easily confronted with a number of inconsistencies and well orchestrated conclusions that are spuriously out of place.”
According to the statement, a copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Minna, Niger State capital, on Monday, one of the inconsistencies of the said interview was the claim that Dele Giwa was killed by suicide bombing, saying that it was a common knowledge that Dele Giwa died of a parcel bomb.
“We have every cause to believe that the interview was carefully scripted to convey the message intended and not one conducted under a question and answer basis. The responses of the said Sani Haliru attest to this fact. From that premise, therefore, it will be safe to conclude that the interview was structured by certain agents of government to satisfy pre-determined position,” the statement added.
He said the questions by the interviewer were also leading questions, tending to achieve the predetermined end of the initiators of the interview, while adding that the motive was to mislead people on agenda clearly set out to achieve.
“He talked about his fear of going to jail, why will a man of God be afraid of incarceration or jail if the cause he is pursuing is truly altruistic? How could someone with facts about Boko Haram be saying that he is afraid the SSS will arrest him if he ventured those facts, when the whole wide world is patiently waiting to get a road map out of the Boko Haram pogrom? There are also instances where third person narrative tenor is given to Sheik Sani Haliru, thus making the whole exercise curiously misleading and utterly unconscionable to warrant any serious recognition.
“We are, therefore, at sea to reconcile any of the claims as truly reflective of any sound mind, save that we have every reason to believe that this is purely a well-scripted interview to give our revered IBB a bad name. What the real motive of the interview is remains to us very worrisome, because we cannot in any way rationalise the immediate or remote intentions of the interviewee and the interviewer.
“For purposes of record, General IBB wishes to disclaim whoever that might have granted such interview and wish to emphatically state that there is no iota of truth in whatever the interviewee must have put down. There is no connection whatsoever between himself and the so-called Sheik Sani Haliru.
“It will serve good purpose if the said Sani Haliru could disclose his age in 1985, 1987 and 1992, because his claim of 44 years of Boko Haram activities could be self-contradicting if we are able to know his real age. 1985 till date is a record 27 years. By the time we subtract that age from 44, the guess is as good as mine.
“One couldn’t possibly know what feat a 17-year-old boy would perform in 1985 to warrant any linkage with IBB. It will also be of good use if he could disclose the instances where IBB is directly and indirectly connected or linked to his activities, how much money he was given, who gave the money and what period of time?
“We, therefore, wish to inform the public to disregard and ignore whoever might be the face behind that name called Sheik Haliru and the message of doom that he seems desperate to propagate,” Afegbua said.No. of Views:503