Presidency Denies Favouring North, Muslims In Appointments


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The Presidency on Monday said
contrary to claims by some individuals
and groups, President Muhammdu
Buhari has treated all Nigerians
without bias for ethnicity or religion in
his appointments and policies since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
It said claims that the present
administration was targeting
Christians and members of the
opposition were without foundation.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity,
Garba Shehu, said this in a statement
while reacting to The London
Telegraph’s article “Children Face
Death by Starvation in Northern
Nigeria” published on Saturday. Shehu said the article repeated a claim
from an earlier piece “Nigeria Using UK
Aid to Persecute President’s Political
Foes” published on April 12, indicating
that Nigeria was diverting United
Kingdom’s aid monies away from defeating the Islamist terror group
Boko Haram towards those the
newspaper identifies as political
opponents of the administration.
He said the statement was incorrect
and unhelpful. The presidential spokesman said to
suggest Buhari’s government as
deepening Muslim-Christian division
was not only untrue, but played into
the hands of Boko Haram who wished
to divide Nigerians along religious lines.
He said, “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.”
Shehu noted that while the claims in
both articles were attributed to an
unnamed source in the United States and “Western officials”, yet the first
article drew the condemnation of the
US Embassy in Abuja as having drawn
conclusions directly opposite to the
position of the US government when it
was first published. He explained that the UK government
does not give development aid to the
Nigerian government for operations
against Boko Haram.
He added that the Federal Government
is not in position to divert aid monies meant for refugees.
He also noted that the blame for the
plight of refugees lies with members of
Boko Haram, saying they are its cause,
not the Nigerian government.
He added, “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
organisations – 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