BAN ON OPEN GRAZING: Southern Govs blast Garba Shehu, say he lacks authority to make policy statements for Presidency

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA

THE Presidency yesterday faulted the latest article on Nigeria published by the Foreign Affairs (Magazine) in United States, titled, ‘The Giant of Africa is Failing’, which was written by John Campbell, an American diplomat.

The Presidency in its response through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said that John Campbell’s claims that Nigeria has become a failed state because of the various challenges bedevilling the country were false and distorted.

In a letter titled “Re: Giant of Africa Falling: Stating the Facts” Shehu wrote: “The latest article on Nigeria in Foreign Affairs titled ‘The Giant of Africa is Failing’ is unfair both to a magazine with such an esteemed pedigree and to its readers.

“Ambassador Campbell has been predicting the collapse of Nigeria for several years. He is of course entitled to his opinions, even where events consistently prove him wrong.

“But facts should not be bent to support distorted opinions. Let me give you one example.

“The authors write: ‘At an April meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Buhari reportedly requested that the headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command be moved from Germany to Nigeria so that it would be closer to the fight against jihadi groups in the country’s north.’

‘President Buhari did not request that AFRICOM move to Nigeria. The transcript of the call with Secretary Blinken is available on the State Department’s own website.

‘It’s not just a question of the invented addition of ‘to Nigeria’ with regard to AFRICOM. It sums up a piece that attempts – subtly but revealingly – to shift facts to suit an argument.

Nigeria faces multiple challenges, not least of which is the dissemination of fake news and prejudiced opinion.

This is something we have come to expect from partisan blogs and politically motivated lobbies. It is still a surprise, and a disappointment, to see them joined by Foreign Affairs.”

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