Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has faulted some pictures in the media in which its acting Leader, Ayo Adebanjo, was alleged to be in company of the Islamic preacher, Abubakar Gumi, who is negotiating with kidnappers in the northern parts of the country.
The organisation in a release by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, said Adebanjo as a lawyer, is not only a man of peace for whom human rights matter a lot, he is never known to be in cahoots with any criminal or those who keep company with alleged criminals and bandits.
He disclosed that the pictures being circulated in which Adebanjo was seen in the same flight with Gumi and later in a handshake in the presence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, were taken in 2018 in the run-up to the 2019 presidential election.
The statement read, “It would be recalled that former vice president Atiku Abubakar elicited the assistance of various important Nigerian personalities to help him secure the support of his former boss, Obasanjo, in his (Abubakar’s) bid to become the country’s president in 2019. Those Atiku Abubakar approached for this purpose included Sokoto Catholic Archibishop Mathew Hassan Kukan, David Oyedepo, Founder of Living Faith Church, Ben Bruce, among others.
“The picture taken in the plane was when the delegation was being flown to Abeokuta Ogun State home of Obasanjo. Adebanjo was in rear of the private jet of Atiku Abubakar that convened the team to Obasanjo. Those on the same flight with Gumi and Adebanjo included PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus. As at that time, Adebanjo was not even the Leader of Afenifere.
“Reports of the visit to Obasanjo in 2018 were widely made in the news media. Among them were the Daily Post of October 11, Punch Newspaper of the same date, Premium Times, October 14, 2018, to mention a few.
“Thus, the pictures being circulated were taken over two years ago, long before kidnapping became this rampart and before Gumi started his engagements with bandits.
“As a matter of fact, it is on record that Adebanjo condemned the present actions of Gumi as contained in, among others, the statement jointly issued by Adebanjo-led Afenifere, PANDEF, Ohaneze and Middle Belt Forum as reported by Vanguard newspaper edition of February 28, 2021.”