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Buhari Accuses London Telegraph Newspapers of Strengthening Boko Haram

Source: pointblanknews.com
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President Mohammadu Buhari has accused the London Telegraph Newspapers of

publishing articles aimed at strengthening Boko Haram, the terrorist

organization operating in Northern Nigeria.
A statement signed by Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu and issued to

journalist accused the London Newspaper of quoting “unknown source and

“western officials” in an article titled: “Children Face Death by

Starvation in Northern Nigeria.”
The Presidency also repudiated the Newspaper’s claims that the Buhari’s

administration is targeting Christians and opposition politicians.

The Statement reads:
The London Telegraph's article “Children Face Death by Starvation in

Northern Nigeria” (30th August) repeats a claim from an earlier piece

“Nigeria Using UK Aid to Persecute President’s Political Foes” (12th

April) – that Nigeria is diverting UK aid monies away from defeating the

Islamist terror group Boko Haram towards those the newspaper identifies as

political opponents of the Administration. This is as incorrect as it is

unhelpful.
These claims in both articles are attributed to an unnamed “source” in the

United States, and “Western officials”. Yet when the first article was

published it drew the condemnation of the US Embassy in Abuja as having

drawn conclusions directly opposite to the position of the US government.

To state the facts: the UK government does not give development aid to the

Nigerian administration for use in military operations against Boko Haram.

Where British military support – such as intelligence – is provided, it is

precisely and only, given for operations directly against Boko Haram.

Similarly, the Nigerian Government is in no position to divert aid monies

used for emergency relief for refugees or IDP camps for any other purpose,

as these are dispensed directly by DFID, USAID, the United Nations, the

International Red Cross, Doctors without Borders and many other

organizations – with which we enjoy excellent relations.

The humanitarian situation in these camps is real. The Administration

remains deeply concerned about the medical, health and nutrition

challenges and we are doing everything with the limited resources we have

at our disposal to improve the situation. However, the blame for the

plight of refugees lies with Boko Haram. They are its cause, not the

Nigerian Government.
In the light of ongoing efforts, we regret the recent attack on the UN

humanitarian convoy in the Northeastern region and are encouraged by the

world body's determination to continue rendering assistance to the

displaced victims. That the attack was repelled by Nigerian troops

escorting the convoy shows precisely how the Government and humanitarian

agencies are working together.
As for claims that the Administration is targeting Christians and the

opposition, these are without foundation.
Since assuming office, President Buhari has treated all Nigerians without

bias for ethnicity or religion – as the composition of his cabinet and the

policies and programmes of his Administration demonstrate.

To suggest his government as deepening Muslim-Christian division is not

only untrue, but plays into the hands of Boko Haram who wish to divide

Nigerians along religious lines. Fighting this group is key priority of

President Buhari's Administration. Indeed the international community has

widely acknowledged his determination to defeat terrorism in Nigeria and

the entire Lake Chad Basin.
There is nothing to gain by attempting to mould public opinion against

these facts. Therefore we invite The Telegraph to visit Nigeria: to

witness first hand not only the challenges we face, but the

Administration's determination to confront them.
Garba Shehu
SSA Media and Publicity
August 1, 2016
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