The O’odua Peoples Congress said the former Chief of Army staff and Minister of Interior, retired Lieutenant General Abdurahman Dambazau, is suffering from acute dementia and gradually losing touch with the realities of the moment.
The OPC in a statement on Saturday by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Oguntimehin, reacted to the statement credited to the former Minister that the OPC was the same as the dreaded Boko Haram.
The group condemned in strong terms the statement credited to the ex-Minister, pointing out that such statements were capable of heating up the polity and disrupting national peace.
Oguntimehin also described Dambazau as a northern irredentist and extremist, popularly noted for his unguarded statements and utterances.
He said: “From his statement, it is obvious that the ex-COAS is suffering from acute dementia and he is gradually losing touch with the realities of this time.
“Dambazau’s statement that OPC and IPOB are very much the same as the dreaded Boko Haram was made in bad faith and such statements have raised some fundamental questions about his intentions, interests and morality as a former COAS and minister of Interior that have allegedly been supporting the bandits by offering both financial and technical support to the group.
“Such high profile ex-military officer cannot be trusted in the fight against insurgency because he had on several occasions pleaded on their behalf.
“In 2014, before the general election, Dambazau and four other top northern leaders had their hands in the recruitment of bandits into the country. And when he eventually became the minister of Interior, under President Muhammadu Buhari, he requested and pleaded that the Federal Government should raise over N800 billion to settle the bandits, a request which was opposed by Nigerians.
“So for such a person to have said that OPC is the same as Boko Haram is not only derogatory, but it is most unfortunate, to say the least.
“Boko Haram is adjudged globally as the third most dreaded terrorist groups in the world. And up till today, it remains as such with various cases of killings across the North.
“For instance, presently, Boko Haram and bandits have taken over four states in the North and Danbazau had never condemned their atrocities; he didn’t raise a finger.
“It is no doubt that he is one of their sponsors. That is why he had, rather than offering lasting solution to the insurgency in the north and across the country, remained an ardent promoter of bandits and other terrorist groups in Nigeria.
“So, from his statement, it shows that the ex-minister is not in his right frame of mind, because when bandits killed a foremost Oba in Ondo, he didn’t talk. When other respected leaders from the north held a meeting on the critical security situation in the country, he didn’t attend.”
The OPC publicity scribe stated further that the group has since its existence in 1994 remained one of the most dependable organizations that have been defending the interest of the people of the South West.
Oguntimehin said: “OPC has never been involved in any act of insurgency, including kidnapping or killings. Our group has been at the vanguard of supporting the police and providing information that can help the police in ensuring effective security at the grassroots.
“For instance, during the #ENDSARS protests, OPC came to the rescue in the South-west and we protected the police stations and the police formations against unscrupulous rioters that had hijacked the peaceful protests.
“Recently, the OPC under our amiable leader, the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, apprehended the notorious kidnap kingpin, Abdullah Iskilu Wakili that had been terrorising the people of Ibarapa and its environs, and we handed him over to the police.
“So, for somebody of Dambazau status to say such a group is like the Boko Haram truly shows his mindset and level of thinking. Such a person has truly lost touch with the realities of the present time because today, OPC has been reorganised, repackaged and re-orientated in such a way that it has become a thorn in the flesh of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists. And today, the fear of the OPC has truly become the beginning of wisdom for people like Danbazau and his allies.”