Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Presidency dismisses London Telegraph’s article on Buhari

14 April 2016, 07:37

Abuja - The Presidency on Wednesday dismissed an article by The Telegraph (London) allegedly accusing Nigeria of using Britain aid to persecute President Muhammadu Buhari's political foes rather than fight Boko Haram.

A statement issued in Abuja by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, said the article was full of factual inaccuracies and a clear ignorance of Nigeria and the country’s ongoing war against terrorism.

The statement read: "our attention has been drawn to a piece published on April 12, 2016 in The Telegraph (London) paper by one Con Coughlin (identified as 'Defence Editor'), titled "Nigeria using UK aid to persecute president's political foes rather than to fight Boko Haram".

"The piece is not only full of factual inaccuracies, it also betrays a shocking ignorance of Nigeria and the country’s ongoing war against terrorism.

"Mr Coughlin’s editorial tactic is to quote unnamed senior officials' and 'western diplomats' and 'western officials' and 'political opponents', making fact-free and unfounded statements.

"It also appears that he sought out only those opinions which suited and reinforced his disgracefully false headline.

"Nowhere in the piece is there anything that suggests he attempted to contact the Nigerian government for its own side of the story.

"Coughlin writes that “American officials are also angry that 2.1 billion Dollars of aid given to the Nigerian military to tackle Boko Haram has not been properly accounted for.

"It does not occur to him that the 2.1 billion Dollars he refers to was budgeted for and wholly spent by the government that President Buhari and his party defeated in the March 2015 presidential elections, and that one of President Buhari’s priorities has been investigating the misuse of those funds.

"It also does not appear to occur to Mr Coughlin that the “political opponents” he is falsely accusing President Buhari of “targeting” and "persecuting" are actually on trial on account of how they spent the 2.1 billion dollars in question."

According to Shehu, Coughlin is equally unaware of the fact that the investigating panel set up by President Buhari to probe the 2.1 billion Dollars recently published a preliminary report that confirmed that much of that money was indeed looted or mispent by the accused persons.

Also read: Buhari spent N5.2b on foreign trips

He said that already, government had started to recover the looted funds.

The presidential aide also dismissed Coughlin’s accusation that President Buhari's government was attempting to cover-up the abduction of 400 women and children "abducted last year by militants from the Nigerian town of Damasak."

"This is absolutely untrue. The Damasak abductions he’s referring to, which were recently widely reported, took place, not “last year” as he says, but in late 2014, well before Buhari was elected President of Nigeria.

"And by the way, President Buhari came to power on May 29, 2015, not July, as Coughlin reported.

"A simple search by Mr Coughlin of his archives would have revealed these facts. A simple fact-check by his copy-editors would have spared the Telegraph the embarrassment of publishing this drivel."

According to Shehu, there are several other inaccuracies and baseless statements in the piece, but Coughlin is too enamoured of his anonymous sources to realise they might be misleading him, or be as ignorant about the situation as he is.

"The suggestion that Boko Haram is going "from strength to strength" is an eminently laughable one; not even Nigeria's opposition party would make such an absurd claim.

"Since President Buhari took office, schools in Borno, shut for more than one year under the previous government, have reopened.

"The same applies to the airport in Maiduguri, shut in December 2013 after a devastating Boko Haram attack on the nearby Air Force Base."

Shehu noted that thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had now started returning home, while on Sunday, El-Kanemi Warriors Football Club played its first game in its home base of Maiduguri in more than two seasons.

He said "until now, the club had been forced to play home games outside the region, on account of security concerns.

"There are several more examples of how the people of the region are finally getting a chance to rebuild their lives, as the Nigerian Armed Forces and a Multinational Joint Task Force continue their work of routing the terrorists.

"Coughlin not only sounds like a spokesperson for the very people whose corruption and mismanagement allowed Boko Haram to bring Nigeria to its knees – and whose disastrous legacy President Buhari spent the last one year redeeming Nigeria from – he is also guilty of failing to observe the most basic rules of responsible journalism.

"Coughlin needs a refresher course on responsible journalism as much as he needs a crash course on Nigeria.

"Until he submits himself to these, we’re afraid he will continue to embarrass not only himself, but also the revered British media institution that is the Telegraph."



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...