Buhari denies planned trips to UK, Saudi Arabia, Austria

…debunks blaming Borno residents for Boko Haram attacks

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday asked Nigerians to ignore “fake news” circulating on the social media that President Muhammadu Buhari had concluded plans to embark on foreign trips to the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Austria respectively.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, described the claim as fake news and concocted information.

The Presidency also denied reports that Buhari accused residents of Borno State of colluding with Boko Haram.

He said the purveyors of the fake news claimed that Buhari would first travel to the UK for 20 days after which he would proceed to Saudi Arabia and later to Austria.

Adesina who advised Nigerians to desist from further sharing the false information on social media, said members of the president’s family, ministers, the military and some government officials had also been victims of the alleged falsehood.

The statement read: “Purveyors of fake and concocted information are currently on overdrive, and Nigerians are urged to be careful what they consume as news, and also share with others, particularly from the social media.

“An unfounded information has been making the rounds that President Muhammadu Buhari is billed to travel to the United Kingdom for 20 days and from there proceed to Saudi Arabia and then Austria. “Fake. It is nothing but falsehood from mischievous minds.

“Members of the first family, ministers, top government officials, the military, and other key institutions, are equally objects of this orchestrated falsehood, coming from enemies of national cohesion.

“We urge Nigerians to be discriminatory about what they accept as credible information and restrain themselves from sharing what they have not authenticated as genuine. That is how we can all collectively beat the malevolent minds at their pernicious games.”

Buhari  last week returned to the country from a trip to Ethiopia where he attended the African Union (AU) summit and flew directly to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, on a condolence visit over the recent killings in the state.

About 30 travellers were killed in attacks on Auno, a location just 25 kilometres to Maiduguri, last week.

Buhari had last month returned to Nigeria from the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020, which held in London from January 17.

During the trip, the president met with British Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson, and briefed him about developments in Nigeria.

He told Johnson about the efforts of his administration in the agricultural sector, saying it has led almost to self-sufficiency in rice and other grains production.

According to him, Nigeria has saved billions of naira in foreign exchange and the efforts are now deployed in other areas of development.

On the war against insurgency, Buhari had said things were a lot better, stressing that the Nigerian government is making efforts to disabuse the minds of the people on the true philosophy of Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, the Presidency has also denied that the president accused residents of Borno State of colluding with Boko Haram.

Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garuba Shehu, said this yesterday on NTA’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme.

Buhari had at a sympathy visit to Maiduguri last week stated, “Boko Haram or whatever they are cannot come to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.

But Shehu said the president’s words were misrepresented, adding that he also received a backlash on the social media because of the comment.

The president’s spokesman said: “I am happy that Isa (Gusau) raised the issue. When the president left Maiduguri, he stressed the need for more intelligence and more support for security and we received a backlash on the social media that the president had raised questions about the commitment of the people of Borno in the war against insurgency.

“Never would the president have said such a thing. But as I just said, quality intelligence is a condition sine qua non for the success of any war.”

The Special Adviser to the Borno State Governor on Public Relations and Strategy, Mr. Isa Gusau, who was also on the same programme with Shehu, faulted the allegations by the president that Boko Haram was succeeding due to the collaboration of residents.

 

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