The Nigerian Presidency has alerted Nigerians of another orchestrated smear campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari, using some online newspapers and blogs.The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said in a statement on Friday in Abuja that the campaign, scheduled to be launched anytime soon through editorials and purported special investigative stories, was designed to further exacerbate tension in the land, by portraying President Buhari as pandering to ethnic and other primordial tendencies, contrary to his pledge to belong to all Nigerians.
It added that 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.
According to the statement, a specific medium has so far contacted some opinion leaders, especially those very critical of President Buhari.
It explained that part of the planned publication is to make unwary readers believe that President Buhari 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.
“Just on Thursday, President Buhari, while meeting with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, led by Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, restated his even-handedness on the issues of ethnicity and religion,” the statement said.
“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,” the statement quoted Buhari as saying.
It noted that those who are bent on stoking ethnic and religious unrest in the country remain deaf to reason, and impervious to reality and urged Nigerians to be wary of them.
Unfortunately, the issues raised in the planned campaign are common knowledge in Nigeria and the current administration led by President Buhari has been severally accused of nepotism in its appointments and distribution of key infrastructure across the country and shielding criminal herdsmen from northern Nigeria, who are known to engage in kidnapping, killings, banditry, rape and destruction of farms in southern Nigeria and parts of North Central zone of the country.
In addition, the appointment of Service Chiefs announced on Tuesday has been trailed by criticisms that President Buhari did not include any officer from the South East zone of the country, which was the case in the earlier appointment of the Service Chiefs in 2015, who had just been sacked for poor performance.