Deji Adeyanju, a Nigerian rights activist who is also a convener of Concerned Nigerians, has slammed the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed over his comments in justification of the activities of Boko Haram insurgents and bandits.
Mohammed had earlier likened the exorbitant amounts demanded by terrorists from residents in the North to the extortions by louts, popularly referred to as "Area boys" in Southern Nigeria.
He had stated that though levies are imposed on communities by terrorists, it does not mean criminals have taken control of the affected areas.
"Do you know how many places in this country where area boys collect taxes? And there is no terrorism or banditry there. I don’t want to mention names.
“In many of our cities, they carve out their own territory. So, it is not indicative of the bandits have taken over.
“No. I know many areas in Nigeria both in the South and the North where these kinds of things happen. So, it is not the same thing,” he had said.
However, Adeyanju said such comparison by the minister presented him as a sympathiser of terrorists.
He lambasted the government for defending terrorists and justifying its crackdown on peaceful agitators who are persistently mistreated across the country.
Adeyanju, on his Twitter page, mocked Lai for his comments, saying President Muhammadu Buhari’s minister, Mohammed had become the official spokesperson for Northern terrorists.
He wrote, "Lai Mohd is speaking like a terrorist sympathizer by justifying terrorist acts of Boko Haram and bandits as he defends them & justifies crackdown against peaceful agitators.
"Lai Mohd says Northern terrorists collect taxes from residents the way Area Boys extort commuters in the South.
"ME: Official spokesperson for Northern terrorists. Lai struggling so hard to outdo (Sheikh Ahmad) Gumi on the job."