President Muhammadu Buhari has denied expressing anti-Igbo sentiments as alleged by the propaganda channel, Radio Biafra.
The claim by the radio that the president disparaged the Igbo ethnic group in a BBC Hausa interview, is completely false, malicious and slanderous, presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said Wednesday.
Mr. Shehu said the voice being ascribed to President Buhari in the recording, repeatedly played back by the pirate station, is definitely not the president’s.
“No one should be deceived by the pirate radio station’s hate propaganda against the president,” Mr. Shehu said in a statement on Wednesday.
The comments were the Nigerian presidency’s first official response to the controversy generated by the underground channel’s broadcast.
The government said on Tuesday the station had been taken off the airwaves, a claim that turned out false.
Mr. Buhari said he has not granted an interview to the BBC since March 31 when he was declared winner of the presidential election, and denied expressing anti-Igbo sentiments in that interview.
“President Buhari has not had any interview with the BBC’s Hausa Service since his assumption of office as alleged by the agents of disunity behind the pirate radio station’s inflammatory and divisive broadcasts,” the statement by Mr. Shehu said.
“The last interview he had with the BBC Hausa Service, lasting not more than five minutes, was on the day he was declared winner and given his certificate of return as President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission.”
Mr. Shehu said the BBC Hausa Service Editor, Mansor Liman, has also dissociated the BBC from the interview clip “being ascribed by the pirate radio station to President Buhari”.
“President Buhari is the President of all Nigerians and will continue to treat all citizens on the basis of fairness, equality and equity.
“Nigerians should therefore ignore all propaganda designed to sow seeds of discord among them and promote a separatist agenda against national unity, solidarity and progress,” Mr. Shehu said.