The Nigerian presidency has accused a U.S.-based magazine, Foreign Affairs, of spreading fake news.
Garba Shehu, the spokesperson of President Muhammadu Buhari, said the “latest article on Nigeria in Foreign Affairs titled ‘The Giant of Africa is Failing’ is unfair both to a magazine with such an esteemed pedigree and to its readers.”
Mr Shehu’s position came 24 hours after the Nigerian government accused Twitter of having a hidden agenda about Nigeria after the social media giant deleted a controversial tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The mission of Twitter in Nigeria is very very suspect. Has Twitter deleted the violent tweets that Nnamdi Kanu has been sending? Has it?,” Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, told journalists in Abuja Wednesday.
Many Nigerians had criticised Mr Buhari for the Wednesday tweet which appeared to be targeted at Igbos.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” the president wrote.
The latest Foreign affairs article which infuriated the Nigerian government was co-authored by a former American ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, and another researcher, Robert Rotberg.
“Nigeria is in big trouble. If a state’s first obligation to those it governs is to provide for their security and maintain a monopoly on the use of violence, then Nigeria has failed, even if some other aspects of the state still function,” the authors wrote.
Read Mr Shehu’s full reaction to the article below.
The latest article on Nigeria in Foreign Affairs titled ‘The Giant of Africa is Failing’ is unfair both to a magazine with such an esteemed pedigree and to its readers.
Ambassador Campbell has been predicting the collapse of Nigeria for several years. He is of course entitled to his opinions, even where events consistently prove him wrong.
But facts should not be bent to support distorted opinions.
Let me give you one example.
The authors write:
‘At an April meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Buhari reportedly requested that the headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command be moved from Germany to Nigeria so that it would be closer to the fight against jihadi groups in the country’s north.’
President Buhari did not request that AFRICOM move to Nigeria. The transcript of the call with Secretary Blinken is available on the State Department’s own website.
It’s not just a question of the invented addition of ‘to Nigeria’ with regard to AFRICOM. It sums up a piece that attempts – subtly but revealingly – to shift facts to suit an argument.
Nigeria faces multiple challenges, not least of which is the dissemination of fake news and prejudiced opinion.
This is something we have come to expect from partisan blogs and politically motivated lobbies. It is still a surprise, and a disappointment, to see them joined by Foreign Affairs.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
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