The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday asked the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to stop dancing on the graves of victims of the Offa robbery incident.
Mohammed said this while reacting to a comment credited to Saraki’s aide.
The minister had asked Saraki, who said he donated a sum of N10 million to the victims, not to play politics with the incident.
Thereafter, Yusuph Olaniyonu, media aide to the Senate President, said Mohammed known to be an “unrestrained and compulsive perjurer”, only commented on the incident to score cheap political points.
But the minister said the claim by the Senate President that he donated the sum for the care of the robbery victims is false.
The statement signed by Mr Segun Adeyemi, the Special Adviser to the Minister, said: “He did not! The N10 million he referred to was donated when the Offa market got burnt and it was made in Ilorin, not Offa.
“When Dr Saraki visited Offa to commiserate with the community in the aftermath of the robbery, he did not donate a dime! I challenge him to prove me wrong.”
Mohammed reiterated his earlier warning against playing politics with the unfortunate incident.
He alleged that Saraki had said in a radio interview that he donated the N10 million when he visited Offa to commiserate with the people in the aftermath of the robbery.
The Minister added that the senate president in the interview also said that the N10 million he donated was more than the N7 million that was stolen from the robbed banks’ vaults.
“The overly aggressive and crude response by Dr Saraki to that warning has shown that he is not ready to heed the admonition, hence the need to re-state it, and to condemn any attempt to denominate human lives in Naira and Kobo,” he said.
He said that in the wake of his warning, the apparently embarrassing radio interview was hurriedly edited to remove all references to the Offa robbery and then re-aired across Kwara state.
Mohammed further said: “Instead of stopping at that, which in itself constitutes an acceptance of wrong-doing, Dr Saraki went ahead to hurl insults at me even when I have been largely restrained in issuing my earlier warning.
“Had I not been restrained, I would have gone ahead to divulge what actually transpired. But with politics in the air, the truth becomes the first casualty.
“Realising that he goofed, Dr Saraki apparently caused the radio interview in question to be edited to remove the donation reference, and then re-aired.
“Is it not an irony that the people who engaged in this egregious act of dishonesty are the same ones calling others names?”
Mohammad said he would continue to steer the debate on the political developments in Kwara to issues rather than an exchange of personal insults which he had always been averse to.