By Ismaila Chafe
The Presidency on Thursday, deplore at a newspaper columnist, Mr Akin Oshuntokun, over his false claim that a bomb blast had gone off in Maiduguri, Borno, on Aug. 21, killing about 88 people.
Oshuntokun, a public affairs commentator, made the claim when he appeared on Politics Today programme of Channels Television, on Aug. 21.
Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja, condemned the claim, saying no such incident was recorded.
He noted that Oshuntokun had never hidden his antipathy toward the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The presidential aide said“but to go on national television and tell lies of the most heinous kind betrays a mind taken completely over by ill wishes against his own country.’’
Adesina, however, observed with delight that this year Sallah celebration passed without any reported incident of bomb blast, contrary to what happened during previous administration in the country.
“Sallah Day had passed quietly and peacefully, without even a firecracker going off, let alone bomb blast.
“That was contrary to what used to happen before the advent of the Buhari administration, when such festivals were turned to orgy of killings in many parts of the country by insurgents.
“Apparently, enemies of peace and progress had expected a return to the infamous past, thus, Oshuntokun appeared on television with his bag of lies.
“When those on the programme remonstrated with him that they were not aware of any bomb blast on that day, he stood his ground all in a futile bid to puncture the successes recorded by government in the area of security.’’
He said till the Sallah holidays ended, no bomb blast was recorded in any part of the country, “to the shame and discomfiture of the naysayers.
“One wonders: if there were bomb blasts and more than 80 people truly died, what would be the gain of anybody, except those who have become blinded by malediction and morbid wishes?
“Is carnage something now to glory about? Is the struggle for power now so ghoulish that some people have lost their humanity over it?
“Oshuntokun and his ilk should realise that this is the only country we have and we can’t swallow poison and expect it to kill the next person. What we sow is what we reap.
“Happily, however, those for a peaceful, united and cohesive Nigeria are more than those against it. That is why those with baleful, hateful thoughts would never win.’’
The presidential aide maintained that tripod goals of securing the country, fighting corruption, and reviving the economy would continue to remain central to the Buhari administration.
He said the Buhari administration was making strides in the three areas, adding that the conquests continued.