The presidency has denied the allegations of President Muhammadu Buhari referring to Nigerians as criminals in an interview granted to the UK’s Telegraph newspaper on February 5.
In a statement made available yesterday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the presidency has taken note the wave of the negative reactions to Buhari’s remarks about the reputation of Nigerians abroad as a result of an incomplete understanding of Buhari’s point.
He urged Nigerians to read the full text of the interview which is available on the Telegraph’s website
“President Buhari was asked about the flood of migrants from Nigeria and the fraudulent applications for asylum put in by people desperate to leave their motherland at any cost, and it was this question that elicited his response’.
He described it as preposterous for anyone to imagine that the President of Nigeria would describe all the citizens of the country he leads as criminals, when himself is a Nigerian and is obviously not a criminal; and when there are many Nigerians of honest living making their country proud all over the world.
“Unfortunately, there are also Nigerians giving their country a bad image abroad, and it is to those Nigerians that the President referred in his comments,” he said, adding that people may play politics and online games with the President’s comments, but the fact of the matter remains that Nigeria’s reputation abroad has been severely damaged by her own citizens.
“These Nigerians who leave their country to go and make mischief on foreign shores have given the rest of us a bad reputation that we daily struggle to overcome.”
“President Buhari is very aware of the problems the people of Nigeria face both at home and abroad, and he is not shying away from admitting them even as he focuses on solutions to bring them to a permanent end.”