The Nigerian Presidency has said there is a compelling reason to alert the nation of another orchestrated smear campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari, using some online newspapers and blogs.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina claims the campaign is scheduled to be launched anytime soon through editorials and purported special investigative stories.
According to the presidential aide, the move is designed to further exacerbate tension in the land, by portraying the President as pandering to ethnic and other primordial tendencies, contrary to his pledge to belong to all Nigerians.
The fresh alarm is Adesina’s second in about one month having issued a similar statement in December 2020 in which he alleged plan to smear the image of the President and portray him as not being in charge of the affairs of the government.
He had claimed then that an online platform had been procured to launch a campaign of calumny against Buhari with heavy monetary inducement while an offshore medium had been hired for the assignment.
“Impeccable security findings indicate that those behind the plot have procured online blogs and newspapers, which are to launch coordinated publications, alleging subjugation and suppression of a particular religion and ethnic groups,” the statement read.
It added further that, “a specific medium has so far contacted some opinion leaders, especially those very critical of President Buhari.
“Part of the planned publication is to make unwary readers believe that the President has continually used the powers of his office to shield and protect an ethnic group against crimes of murder, kidnappings, rape and banditry in the southern, middle belt and some northern states.
“The publication will also refer Nigerians to a 58-page document, which chronicles purported atrocities of the ethnic group in the South since 2017, all of which it claims the Presidency has turned blind eyes to.
“Again, the hatchet job will allege that the President has continued to place members of his ethnic nationality in sensitive positions, so as to confer undue advantage on them. This allegation is by no means supported with reasonable facts and figures.”
According to Adesina, President Buhari had on Thursday during a meeting with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), led by Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, restated his even-handedness on the issues of ethnicity and religion.
He quoted the president as saying that “the Federal Government under my leadership does not, and will not, allow religious prejudice or partisanship to influence any of its decisions and policies. It is my solemn decision to be fair and just to all segments of society.”
“Those who are bent on stoking ethnic and religious unrest in the country remain deaf to reason and impervious to reality. They are hell-bent on distorting reality, and Nigerians are urged to be wary of them. It is all about the quest for power, and filthy lucre.”
By Abel Ejikeme