Edwin Clark Calls For Lai Mohammed’s Prosecution Over Fake News On Peter Obi
Former Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South leader, Edwin Clark has called for the prosecution of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
In a statement yesterday, Edwin Clark asked the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to prosecute Lai Mohammed for spreading fake news against the Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi.
This was contained in a statement titled, “LAI MOHAMMED MINISTER OF INFORMATION SHOULD BE PROSECUTED FOR SPREADING FAKE NEWS AGAINST THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OF LABOUR PARTY MR PETER GREGORY OBI”
KanyiDaily recalls that Mohammed, while addressing some international media organisations and groups in Washington DC on the 2023 general elections, accused Obi of treason.
The Minister told his audience that Obi was promoting insurrection in Nigeria by inciting people to violence over the outcome of the February 25 presidential elections.
Reacting in his statement, Clark said that it has become very clear that Mohammed has constituted himself to become the mastermind and disseminator of fake news and the only option now is for Malami to carry out a holistic investigation of his activities and charge him to court.
The Ijaw National Leader said that the prosecution of the Minister has become imperative against the backdrop that he did not base his information on any credible intelligence report, but on propaganda and falsity, adding that he used the exalted position of the office of the nation’s Ministry of Information to commit perfidy.
He said that Mohammed as Minister of Information of the country, for eight years now has rather than unite the country as his job implies and who ought to create an atmosphere for Nigerians to live together as brothers and sisters have instead, caused what he described as divisions in the country.
Clark noted that what Lai Mohammed is doing with the Office of Minister of Information he left over 48 years ago when he was appointed by former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon as Federal Commissioner for Information in 1975 is disappointing.
Clark said that it has become clear that the Minister of Information has constituted himself to become the mastermind and disseminator of fake news and this leaves us with no option than to call on the Attorney General of the nation to undertake what he termed a thorough investigation of the activities of the Minister and charge him to court.
The Ijaw leader noted that Lai Mohammed’s recent visit to the United States of America (USA), on the issue of the Interim National Government (ING), damaged, the reputation of Obi’s rising profile is effort in futility, against the backdrop that the Minister did not base his accusations on any report or information given by any state agency, but on mere propaganda targeted at destroying the reputation of an innocent citizen.
The Elderstatesman noted that rather than treat the media as the 4th estate of the realm, Lai Mohammed has decided to wear the Oga toga, asking why will the Minister of Information take more than usual interest in not only scandalizing and lying against Peter Obi but using his privileged position to circulate same to the country and the entire world.?
According to Clark, it is highly hypocritical within government circles today that statements were being made to ensure that there is the diligent dispensation of justice with regard to the largely flawed 2023 elections that did not threaten the existence of the country is being tagged treasonable, adding that the more regrettable aspect of it is that an innocent stakeholder in the person of Peter Obi who has not uttered a word was being mischievously dragged in.
The former Federal Commissioner for Information said that rather than mention the names of those who have been raising this question why drag the name of Obi who has been totally silent on the subject matter if not for cheap political gain?
Clark said, “It is clear therefore that the Minister of Information has constituted himself to become the mastermind and disseminator of fake news. This leaves us with no option but to call on the Attorney General of the nation to undertake a thorough investigation of the activities of the Minister and charge him to court.
“Lai Mohammed as Information Minister and chief propagandist of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government was cut to size and became very uncomfortable for the growing popularity of Mr Peter Obi’s appeal to the exuberant Nigeria youths who practically demonstrated their support for Mr Peter Obi and the obedient that came in droves to take back their country.
“The impression that gained ground at the time was that Obi was only popular on social media and not on the ground, but Obi’s performance within the short time he entered the race made him the man of the moment in the presidential election. Lai Mohammed therefore in his usual characteristics carried fake news within and outside Nigeria to discredit and tarnish the reputation of Mr Peter Obi.
“It is criminal, unpatriotic and wicked for anyone to draw the name of Mr Peter Obi who fully participated in the 2023 Presidential Election and who has gone to court to express his dissatisfaction with the outcome of the presidential election and his popularity which has spread to all part of the country as a wildfire has no doubt caused a great embarrassment to the Federal Government.
“What is being alleged as a discovery of a plot to overthrow the Federal Government by DSS is malicious and untrue.
“One cannot help but note that Lai Mohammed’s actions are targeted against perceived political opponents and enemies. I wish to strongly advise Mr President to call his spokesmen to order. The nation is already too tensed; those whose responsibility it is to douse the tension should not be the ones stoking the embers of a fire that will flame up the country.”
The statement read in full, “Lai Mohammed as Minister of Information of the country, for the eight years now, since the inception of President Buhari’s Government, rather than uniting the country as his job implies, by creating an atmosphere for Nigerians to live together as brothers and sisters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has instead, caused divisions in the country.
“I had on several occasions condemned this conduct of his attempting to suppress, gag and intimidate the press. He has used the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), as an agent of his Ministry. NBC is no longer the independent organisation which it used to be, treating the press as a noble profession, made up of noble practitioners.
A case in point is the five million naira fine slammed on Channels Television without even the rudiments of natural justice, in this case, a fair hearing, which is a basic procedure of justice to ensure fairness. Rather, slamming media houses with fines without hearing from the media houses, is the trial that has now become a constant weapon of intimidation and harassment of the press.
“Lai Mohammed, as his duty as Minister of Information entails, who ought to treat the media as the fourth estate of the realm, as it is done all over the world, in civilised places, has rather decided to wear the “oga” toga. The media is very critical and plays a very important role in any democratic setup. And any responsible government should bear this in mind.
“This fact was not lost on me when I was appointed to that position during the General Yakubu Gowon administration. Even though it was a military government, I understood that as “spokes person” of the country at the time, whatever I said or did, could either make or mar the unity, peace and oneness of the country. That was my guiding principle. And without being immodest, I think it paid positively. I reproduce here what General Yakubu Gowon the Head of State has this to say about the role I played in his Government;
“EK’s commendable performance in Benin made him my first choice for Federal Commissioner for Information replacing his colleague Chief Anthony Enahoro, who had vacated the post in 1974.
“Colonel Ogbemudia released Chief E.K . Clark from his post and E K soon stepped into the large shoes left behind by Chief Anthony Enahoro. E K quickly settled into Lagos and the role displayed mettle and competence by embarking on a vast schedule of publicity and information programs that he felt were vital and important. Included within EK’s plans were programs for post-war healing, restoration of national and mental trust and confidence and a bold future economic development plan from 1975-1980. EK was dutiful, loyal and patriotic in his role as Federal Commissioner of Information. I will always be grateful to EK for its commitment to myself and my government”.
“One of my priority assignments at the time was to make the press know their country. What was the use of talking about a place, as a pressman/woman, if you do not know anything about the place? How do you produce a balanced reportage? For instance, because there is no use talking about Kano, Kaduna or Enugu, without knowing these places, I took the pressmen on a plane to various parts of the country for them to know their country. During this period we ate and drank together and visited various parts together. With all modesty again, I wish to state that even though my tenure was short, I made remarkable progress in bringing the government to the people.
“So, for me to see what Lai Mohammed is doing with the office today is disappointing. His recent sojourn to the United States of America (USA), on the issue of Interim National Government (ING), to damage the reputation of Mr Peter Obi’s rising profile, to me, is an effort in futility, because Lai Mohammed did not base his accusations on any report or information given by any state agency, but on mere propaganda targeted at destroying the reputation of an innocent citizen.
“If I may continue further, why will the Minister of Information take more than usual interest in not only scandalizing and lying against Peter Obi but using his privileged position to circulate the same to the country and the entire world? If we were to talk further about those who have held strong positions against the current political situation in the country; why has the Minister avoided taking notes of the views of other persons such as our respected elder statesman and colleague Chief Afe Babalola who stated thus as supported by Premium Times online news of April 18th 2022;
“By April 2022, Nigeria was actually facing a crisis of all dimensions economically, insecurity corruption, and lack of direction. Because there was no courageous, competent Nigerian leader, and the question was, where do we go from here?
“There were very few politicians in the corridor of power who believe that the Buhari administration has performed exceedingly well. It was during this period of uncertainty that many Nigerians came out patriotically, felt they should speak out, even though they were not partisan politicians, and one of those is Chief Afe Babalola, an honest and self-made Nigerian, it was during this period he made an honest and sincere contribution, and that it may be difficult to have free, fair and credible elections.
“It was at this juncture of a failing Nigeria that he suggested that Nigeria should have an interim national Government.
“Have known Chief Afe Babalola for a very long time, we were both in NPN, he was one of the leading counsels, and I still remember when I accompanied him as an NPN counsel to prosecute the case involving Alhaji Balarabe Musa.
“At this Juncture, I will like to reproduce his statement on the Interim National Government.
“Legal icon and elder statesman, Afe Babalola, says an interim government should replace the current administration at the expiration of President Muhammed Buhari’s tenure in 2023”.
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