In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said Congressman Marino was poorly informed about the issues he commented on, wondering why he did not take the pains to get first hand information from the US Embassy in Nigeria or any other credible source before engaging in what is nothing but a ‘propaganda of his own imagination’.
The Minister said by asking the US to refrain from selling warplanes and other military equipment to Nigeria based on a faulty premise, the Congressman has demonstrated a poor understanding of global security issues.
‘’Insecurity anywhere is insecurity everywhere. Had Congressman Marino understood this, he would not have made the kind of call he made concerning the US security assistance to Nigeria. The Boko Haram insurgency that Nigeria has decisively dealt with under President Muhammadu Buhari is not just a Nigerian problem but a regional and international crisis,’’ he said.Lai said Congressman Marino definitely did not have Nigeria in mind when he wrote that the US should withhold security assistance to Nigeria until President Buhari ‘demonstrates a commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech’.
''An Administration that operates purely on the basis of respect for the rule of law and a strict adherence to constitutional order is not one to deny the citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights. This Administration therefore does not need the goading of Congressman Marino or anyone for that matter to do what is right. Concerning running an inclusive government, had Congressman Marino done his home work before dispatching his letter, he would have realized that no part of the country is left out in the distribution of political appointments, for example, or in the appointment of Ministers, which was done in accordance with the Constitution that mandates that the President must appoint at least one minister from each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Had the Congressman sought information from credible sources before engaging in a flight of fancy, he would have been presented with a comprehensive information on the appointment of CEOs for Federal Government’s parastatals, agencies and commissions that shows that the appoints were almost evenly matched along the line of the six geo-political zones in the country: With the North West having 51, North Central 46, North East 45, South East 41, South West 45 and South South 45,’’ he said. ‘’The Congressman may wish to note that each geo-political zone comprises 6 states, with the exception of North West (7) and South East (5).’’The Minister described Congressman Marino’s description of the Administration’s anti-corruption efforts as ‘selective’ as a tired argument that clearly shows that the US lawmaker must have appended his signature to someone’s concocted line.
''That line was invented by those seeking to cause an unnecessary distraction from the Administration’s anti-corruption efforts, and it has been roundly rejected. Congressman Marino’s decision to exhume the dead postulation without an iota of proof is a reflection of whose side he has taken in the ongoing efforts to rid Nigeria of corrupt elements. Needless to say that the anti-corruption battle will continue unhindered, irrespective of whose ox is gored. And in this fight, only the guilty needs be afraid,’’ he said.
Lai said Nigeria is delighted that US Secretary of State John Kerry, to whom the Congressman addressed his letter, is more knowledgeable, better briefed and definitely more hands on concerning Nigerian issues.