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Lagos-based lawyer, Chief Ladi Williams (SAN), has condemned the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Ms. Jumoke Akinjide, for her statement urging protesters against the abduction of the over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, to direct their protests to the terrorists and not the government.
Akinjide was said to have made the statement when he met a team of BringBackOurGirls campaigners, led by a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwezili, on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa last week.
She was also quoted to have told the protesters to learn from citizens of other countries who do not blame their governments for any terrorist act.
But reacting to the statement yesterday in an interview with THISDAY, Williams described the statement as “shocking” from a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria.
“This is the most arrogant, inconsiderate and irresponsible statement ever made in such circumstance. She showed no compassion for the plights of the parents.”
According to the legal practitioner, the women had the right to protest and they were in order to protest to the president, saying that it was in line with the standard practice in the civilised world, citing the example of the American first lady, Michelle Obama, who he said despite her high position, identified with the plights of the abducted girls in great humility by demanding the unconditional release of the girls.
“This was in contrast with the junior minister speaking for the nation dressed in a flashy attire, talking as nothing has happened. What we have is a national calamity and Jonathan is vested with the executive power and all the legitimate instruments of cohesion by the constitution to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. Jumoke Akinjide was wrong to have directed the women to go to Sambisa forest to protest, is she saying that the government is incompetent?”
Williams, however, appealed to the president to sack the minister and personally disown Akinjide’s statement and distance his government from it in order to tell the world that he has no intention to send grieving mothers to Sambisa forest to protest.
He, however, praised the Nigeria military for their efforts.
“I do not share the lack of confidence in our military, we have assisted other nations such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Somalia and Congo to put their houses in order, there is no reason why we should not put our own in order.”
While distancing Jonathan from the statement, Ladi Williams said “I believe that with what the populace know about Jonathan, one thing you cannot accused him of is that he is not a compassionate person.”