Buhari Accuses London Telegraph Newspapers of Strengthening Boko Haram
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
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
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.
SSA Media and Publicity
August 1, 2016
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