The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has alleged that available evidence has shown that Senate President Bukola Saraki’s live radio interview on Christmas Day was doctored before it was re-broadcast to remove any reference to his claim that he donated N10m to the victims of the Offa robberies.
In a statement on Wednesday, the minister said he would present to the public both the unedited version of Saraki’s live radio interview as well as the one he claimed was doctored and re-broadcast.
He said, ‘’In the unedited live version, Dr Saraki, speaking in Yoruba, said categorically that he donated N10m when he visited Offa to commiserate with the victims of the armed robberries, when (he said) in actual fact about N7m was stolen from the vaults of the banks that were robbed during the attacks.
‘’However, the version for re-broadcast did not contain any reference to the Offa robberries. Whereas they claimed to have re-broadcast the interview due to popular demand, the truth is that they decided to re-air it without the claim of N10m donation due to the widespread derision that greeted that phantom claim. These people have a chronic disdain for the truth.”
Mohammed challenged the former Kwara State governor to answer to three critical questions.
He said, “The first one is did he not say, during the live interview, that the money in the vault was N7m and that he dropped N10m when he went to Offa on a condolence visit?
“The second question is did he really drop any money on that occasion? And the third, did he or did he not doctor the original broadcast?”
The minister added, ‘’On November 17, 2018, the people of Kwara gave a hint of their determination to sack the rapacious leaders who have dominated their lives when they voted for the APC in the by-election for the Ekiti/Isin/Irepodun/Oke-Ero federal constituency.
“That crushing defeat so devastated the political warlords, who hitherto claimed invincibility, that they have started doing what they have never done before — going from ward to ward to campaign.
“Unfortunately, the game is up for them, as they will soon learn, because the people have resolved that ‘O to ge’ (enough is enough). In the meantime, they are free to continue to revel in self-deceit.’’
But the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, advised Mohammed to stop using the Offa robberies as a political tool.
He said, “After reading the laughable and entirely empty statement issued by the minister today, we challenge him, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to bring out the two recordings of the live transmission and the repeat broadcast to show the public where it is doctored.
“Just to be clear, the repeat of the interview was based on popular demand by Kwarans during some of the consultative meetings the Senate President had in the three Senatorial districts of Kwara State.
“Mr Mohammed should be well-aware that the interview was aired live, hence his insinuation that certain sections were subsequently doctored puts the reputation of the five radio stations that aired the interview and the four that aired the repeat in jeopardy.
“This also includes Harmony FM, a Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria station that is under the minister’s supervision.”