Buhari didn’t refer to all Nigerians as criminals — Presidency

The presidency has described as misconstrued the various interpretations of President Muhammadu Buhari’s comments in an interview granted to the UK’s Telegraph newspaper on February 5.

In a statement Tuesday by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, noted that the wave of negative reactions to the President’s remarks about the reputation of Nigerians abroad was a result of incomplete understanding of President Buhari’s point.

“President Buhari was asked about the flood of migrants from Nigeria and the fraudulent applications for asylum put in by people desperate to leave their motherland at any cost, and it was this question that elicited his response,” he said, encouraging Nigerians to avail themselves of a full text of the interview, which has now been made available on the Telegraph’s website.

Mr Shehu added that it was preposterous for anyone to imagine that the president of Nigeria would describe all the citizens of the country he leads as criminals, when he himself is a Nigerian–obviously not a criminal–and when there are many Nigerians of honest living making their country proud all over the world.

“Unfortunately, there are also Nigerians giving their country a bad image abroad, and it is to those Nigerians that the President referred in his comments,” he said, adding that people may play politics and online games with the President’s comments, but the fact of the matter remains that Nigeria’s reputation abroad has been severely damaged by her own citizens.

“These Nigerians who leave their country to go and make mischief on foreign shores have given the rest of us a bad reputation that we daily struggle to overcome.”

Mr. Shehu called attention to the many efforts of President Buhari to clean up the image of Nigeria, such as the war on corruption, stating that acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to preferring a solution.

“President Buhari is very aware of the problems the people of Nigeria face both at home and abroad, and he is not shying away from admitting them even as he focuses on solutions to bring them to a permanent end.”


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  • JM

    Thank u Mr. Garba. Maybe the wannabe and news-hungry journalists Jude Ndukwe and Jaafar Jaafar, who rushed to slam PMB in this same paper without reading the transcripts of his interview, can now do what the decent gentlemen they claim to be would do in this kind of situation. Let’s see if they can walk their big grammar talk, that is to retrack and apologise for goofing (not to PMB really).

    • PolyGon2013

      Ndukwe and Jaafar are part of the corruption that is fighting back.

      • Ak

        I commend Buhari’s courage to fight corruption but its the way he is going about it that faults the whole process. Clean your house first and rid it of corruption; call your colleagues to order or prosecute them if they are found wanting. Only then will you have a moral stance to chase after others. When you wine and dine with corrupt politicians, people will not take you seriously when you claim to be fighting corruption.
        Charity begins at home! get off the fence, fight this demon that is killing us all to a stand still. we support this fight, but you must help yourself by fighting it without any strings attached and expose all looters irrespective of party affiliations. God Bless us all.

        • Otile

          Bro, you are preaching to the deaf and dumb.

  • Malik Isah

    the criminals know themselves and that is why they are showing guilt by screaming!

    • Bala Salihu Dawakin kudu

      Some Nigerian are not fair to PMB, always need to changed Buhari’s statement into nagetive side which is totally bad.

      • Otile

        Is it not what your slaves omo oduafraudians did to our brother Dr Jonathan?

  • Isi Agwo

    President Bokohari, a certificate forger, who has ruled Nigeria twice on the bases of false affidavits he has sworn since 1962 (in order words, a criminal himself), is Nigeria’s number one criminal. He should know a criminal when he sees one.

    • excel

      Keep your flourishing stupidity to yourself, don’t need showing it here.

    • PolyGon2013

      You are part of the corruption that is fighting back. We saw this coming. It is too late for you pig head. The train has left the station. Nobody is going to stop Buhari.

      • Tunsj

        These trolls do not want any change because they make their living in corrupt system.

      • Otile

        Ogbeni, you are very funny: …Nobody is going to stop Buhari. Of course nobody can stop a determined suicide bomber.

    • Tunsj

      Look in the mirror and you will see who is a criminal. This kind of comment is where you give away your credibility. You are completely delusional and should probably be hospitalized.

  • onyefeze

    Rather than try to defend Mr President always, those who work for him should do their homework well and stop him from making unguarded statements that could easily be misinterpreted. There are several ways of saying nasty things without appearing to have said something wrong. Many people who condemned the President’s remark on Nigerians are saying that other countries’ nationals are not in anyway better than Nigerians; yet their Presidents do not make it a pastime of denigrating them at any slightest opportunity. Admitting before the international community that your citizens are criminals has not solved the problem for you. I disagree that such admission in this case is the first step in proffering solution to the problem according to the President’s media man, Garba Shehu.

    • JM

      Onyefeze, part of the problem of trying to be too logical is that you end up being illogical or unrealistic. You sound like a pure scientist, which I am not, where , unlike politics and, indeed, all human social interactions, meanings of words and actions are subjective and relative. Reading your view, which I enjoyed for its sheer density, you either have so many qualms with PMB and/or a segment of Nigeria, or you are just too bright and logical for some of us everyday bread and butter Naijas. What exactly is your beef here? Read the second half of your first sentence, even if PMB said what was alleged, can his staff tape his mouth while making a speech? Your second sentence is also one of our main problems in Naija — lie lie, wayo, jibiti ! It’s very hard to get straight talk from us, sadly. Sentence 3, de man say im no talk so, yet u dey carry on, haba….! Sha, I enjoyed your dense analysis, which, for me, was just acada grammar.

      • ConScience

        Adept response. WE LOVE TO LIE AND DECEIVE OURSELVES. I am a proud Nigerian and when it was very fashionable to change your name during the height of the drug peddling era in the late eighties and nineties I declined to on my foray into NYC circles. Came back home after 20 years and still find that even if drugs is not pervasive as it may have been in most nook and cranny slums of NYC before Mayor Guiliani made it is priority to clean up the mess at the risk of getting a bad rap from the progressives I for one believe that after 4 years of being back the reason Nigeria cannot succeed even if we are consumed by some other form of hallucinogenics as we lie to ourselves and regardless of the prayers a million times on this Ash Wednesday we love to LIE. We LIE to ourselves, our neighbors, our friends, our business partners, our bosses and who ever else is around us. We can never say it as it is. As much as I am not a big fan of Trump and his satirical allusions but I still give him credit for saying it as he sees it come what may. Nigeria will go far if we understand the concept of separating fact from fallacy.

  • excel

    This is not the first time things like this happpen, it was one of the propaganda tools used against the president while seeking election as the president. those behind this shameless things should be the one to stop painting the nation black just because of political again or political relevance.

  • PolyGon2013

    Corruption is fighting back to stop Buhari. PMB should continue his fight on corruption. Nigeria image has been damaged, and our dear president is trying to repair it.

    • Tunsj

      Well put!

  • jonathanjames61

    I don’t know why the truth becomes lies and lies become truth.I travelled a lot mostly when I was working for an International organisation,I must confess that the moment I bring out my Nig passport it’s all hell let loss especially the narcotics region,but when I bring out my International organisation passport all I get is sorry sir we don’t mean to embarrass you.technically Buhari was right few bad eggs do spoil us but most of us are hard working.I still blame it on the military who initiated corruption in this country.The military remains one of the most corrupt entity in Nigeria,the Buhari regime for reform change,needs to start in dodan barracks to NDA,to jaji.The real criminals in Nigeria are the NIgerian Army,behind every looting you will always see a man in Uniform.