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Obasanjo’s Boko Haram Comments “deeply offensive and patently divisive,” says FG



Olusegun Obasanjo

In a statement signed by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government has said comments by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo on the activities of Boko Haram are “divisive” and “depressing”.

Obasanjo, according to Sahara Reporters, was quoted as saying at a church event that the insurgency was “no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youth in Nigeria which it began as.”

“It is now West African Fulanization, Islamization and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change,” Obasanjo was said to have added.

Read FG’s statement below:


The Federal Government has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s comments imputing ethno-religious motive to Boko Haram and ISWAP as deeply offensive and patently divisive, saying such indiscreet comments are far below the status of an elder statesman.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it was particularly tragic that a man who fought to keep Nigeria one is the same one seeking to exploit the country’s fault lines to divide it in the twilight of his life.

He said Boko Haram and ISWAP are terrorist organizations pure and simple, adding that they care little about ethnicity or religion when perpetrating their senseless killings and destruction.

“Since the Boko Haram crisis, which has been simmering under the watch of Obasanjo, boiled over in 2009, the terrorist organization has killed more Muslims than adherents of any other religion, blown up more mosques than any other houses of worship and is not known to have spared any victim on the basis of their ethnicity. It is therefore absurd to say that Boko Haram and its ISWAP variant have as their goal the ‘Fulanisation and Islamisation’ of Nigeria, West Africa or Africa,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said President Buhari put to rest the mis-characterisation of Boko Haram as an Islamic organization when he said, in his inaugural speech in 2015, that “Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of”.

The Minister said Obasanjo’s comments are therefore as insensitive and mischievous as they are as offensive and divisive in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Nigeria, wondering whether there is no limit to how far the former President will go in throwing poisonous darts at his perceived political enemies.

He said Obasanjo’s prescriptions for ending the Boko Haram/ISWAP crisis, which include seeking assistance outside the shores of Nigeria, are coming several years late, as President Buhari has done that and more since assuming office, hence the phenomenal success he has recorded in tackling the terrorists.

“Shortly after assuming office in 2015, President Buhari’s first trips outside the country were to rally the support of Nigeria’s neighbours – Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger – for the efforts to battle the terrorists. The President also rallied the support of the international community, starting with the G7, and then the US, France and the UN.

“That explains the massive degrading of Boko Haram, which has since lost its capacity to carry out the kind of spectacular attacks for which it became infamous, and the recovery of every inch of captured Nigerian territory from the terrorists,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said Obasanjo’s call for wide consultations with various groups as part of the efforts to tackle the Boko Haram crisis has been neutralized by his ill-advised comments which have served more to alienate a large number of Nigerians, who are offended by his tactless and distasteful postulation.

The Minister called on the former President, whom he said took bullets for Nigeria’s unity, not to allow personal animosity to override his love for a united Nigeria, saying it will not be out of place if he withdraws his unfortunate statement and apologizes to Nigerians.


  1. Ganny Ogunshakin

    May 21, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Obasanjo started it all. Boko Haram started when he Obasanjo allowed people in the northern parts of Nigeria to practice sharia law. He did this to placate people from the northern parts of Nigeria. By allowing sharia law to happen, he Obasanjo embolden radicals from the Northern parts of the Country to do whatever they like. Obasanjo brought this on Nigeria. He can not blame this on the government of President Buhari. Now you know. A word is enough for the wise. I’m just saying.

    • Rumplstiltskin

      May 22, 2019 at 8:41 am

      Obasanjo didn’t have any choice regarding sharia in northern nigeria .If he had tried to stop them all hell would have broken loose .The islamic agenda which mr integrity is part of is a 200 plus year old agenda which they’re still trying to achieve .The only difference between mallam integrity and boko haram is that he pretends about it so that he won’t lose support .

  2. Concerned

    May 21, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Very irresponsible and unnecessary comment. How can an elder statesman enter a house of worship and speak words that are so inflammatory?

    Btw Ganny It has nothing to do with starting Sharia law.
    Nigerians like to talk about things they know nothing about and are too lazy to research. Sharia law does not in anyway predispose to terrorism. Infact Sharia law “if practiced properly” should be very harsh on terror. It is man that corrupts everything….we all need to be more responsible and sensitive for the sake of peace.

    One thing though is that Northern Nigeria isn’t eligible to institute the sharia law because they are lacking the necessary basic things ( like having a society where there is provision for its citizens). You have to be stable and balanced to even try it.

    I hope people are wise to look beyond his words . The devil must fail and we must remain united in peace.

  3. Tamuno

    May 22, 2019 at 2:33 am

    Hypocrite is the second name for our current administration.
    We all know Obasanjo is one of the problems facing our nation from time immemorial but many keeps lauding him for dragging our nation behind within his capacity.


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