The presidency through Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to president Buhari on media has replied a staff writer of The Telegraph, United Kingdom, Mr. Con Coughlin over his recent reports where he claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari was fighting his political opponents with foreign financial aids meant to fight insurgency in Nigeria.
Mallam Garba Shehu stated that “the piece is not only full of factual inaccuracies”. He regretted that the writer did not call the attention of Nigeria to confirm his story before going to press.
In his statement, he said, “Our attention has been drawn to a piece published on April 12th, 2016, in The Telegraph (London) paper, by one Con Coughlin (identified as ‘Defence Editor’), and titled, ‘Nigeria using UK aid to persecute president’s political foes rather 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.
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He also added that, “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 of aid given to the Nigerian military to tackle Boko Haram has not been properly accounted for”. He said, it does not occur to him that the $2.1 billion 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.