Nuhu Ribadu, former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says a statement alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari recruited bandits to oust former President Goodluck Jonathan is not from him.
The statement, which is spreading across social media and purportedly credited to Ribadu, gave an unverified account of the origin of banditry in the country.
It alleged that Buhari sought the services of the mercenaries, who were recruited from neighbouring countries, to claim power for the Fulani group in case he loses the 2015 presidential election.
The statement said the services of the bandits were no longer needed after Buhari won the election, forcing them to invade people’s homes for food and other basic needs.
“It all started in April 2014 when Mohammadu Buhari assembled his ardent supporters, promoters and strategists to determine how to remove President Jonathan Goodluck. Prominent amongst them were El-Rufai, Gen Danbazo (Rtd),” the fictitious statement read.
“A decision was reached to consult Miyatti Allah cattle breeders association for assistance to boot Jonathan Goodluck out of office. Consequently, the National Chairman of Miyatti Allah was engaged to bring in foreign mercenaries. Within a month, 2,000 Fulani fighters were brought in from Mali, Senegal, Niger Republic, Chad, Libya to name but a few. Further 4,000 fighters were stationed in Niger and Chad on standby.
“On arrival, they were assembled in Kaduna under the sponsorship of El Rufai and were addressed by various Northern Leaders including the Sultan of Sokoto, Gen Buhari (Rtd) etc.
“Specifically, Gen Buhari in his address told the fighters that “the British handed Nigeria over to us the Fulanis at independence. The land (Nigeria) belongs to us. We must reclaim what belongs to us.”He added that at the event that Jonathan Goodluck won the election, the Fulani machinery must fight until they regain control of the country. He assured them that the Nigerian Army was behind them.”
It was also alleged that Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), raised N100 billion for the settlement of the bandits as a condition for his re-appointment, but nothing changed.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday, Ribadu dissociated himself from the report, saying the statement is not from him.
He said the statement was first shared in June 2019, and that he released a disclaimer via his Twitter account on July 17.
The former EFCC chairman asked security agencies to investigate the origin of the message and prosecute those behind it.
He also asked the public to disregard the message, which he described as “clear inanity and cheap blackmail”.
“But to my chagrin, over six months after the initial rebuttal, the manufacturers of the hateful message and their co-travelers, those who peddle whatever is capable of creating disaffection are back at it,” he said.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I have never at any time wrote or said those words being attributed to me. I have no knowledge of the details contained in the disjointed propaganda message in circulation and I urge the public to disregard it.
“I also appeal to concerned security agencies to investigate the genesis of the fake message and fish out the perpetrators. Purveyors of fake news, more so one that is clearly a threat to national security should not be allowed to thrive.”