Post-Nigeria on Wednesday, April 13, quoted a United Kingdom newspaper ‘TheTelegraph’, where it reported that the President misappropriated and diverted foreign aid meant to fight insurgency.
Related: Buhari accused of diverting £860 million UK aid
Reacting to the report, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement released yesterday condemned the report, but did not deny the said amount as quoted to have been diverted by the President.
Part of his statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a piece published in your paper, by one Con Coughlin, identified as your 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 level of ignorance of Nigeria and the country’s ongoing war against terrorism.
“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’.
“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.
“It also does not appear to occur to Mr. Coughlin that the “political opponents” he is falsely accusing President Buhari of “targeting” and “persecuting” are actually on trial on account of how they spent the $2.1 billion in question.
“Mr. Coughlin is equally unaware of the fact that the investigating panel set up by Mr. Buhari to probe the $2.1 billion recently published a preliminary report that confirmed that much of that money was indeed looted or mis-spent by the accused persons, and that the government has started to recover the funds”, Garba Shehu said.