by Stanley Azuakola
Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, has come out forcefully to condemn those who are criticising President Jonathan for travelling abroad when Nigeria is literally on fire. 24-hour curfews have been imposed on two states –Yobe and Kaduna, tensions between Christians and Muslims are approaching a crescendo, yet the president went ahead with his planned trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attend the United Nations’ Earth Summit, RIO+20.
Maku who briefed state house correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting said that “the president can rule from anywhere in the world.” He said despite the president’s absence, there is no vacuum in government.
The statement by the Minister of Information sounds eerily like the chants by loyalists of former President Yaradua’s when he left the country for Saudi Arabia without a proper handover.
Tuesday’s weekly FEC meeting was presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
The president was accompanied on his trip to Brazil by his wife, two governors and a number of Ministers.
A wide range of criticism has greeted the president’s trip to the earth summit, with opposition party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), describing the trip as the height of insensitivity and confused leadership.
“The decision by the President to travel two days after dozens of innocent Nigerians, including women and children, were killed or maimed by suicide bombers in Kaduna state, is a “sign of insensitive and confused leadership” the party stated.
The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) also condemned the trip, saying it was akin to a desertion of duty despite the “gloomy atmosphere pervading the country.”