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Presidency frowns at ‘distorted opinions’ of Foreign Affairs magazine

By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

The Presidency has frowned at the latest opinion piece published by Foreign Affairs magazine on Nigeria, describing it as distorted and unfair.

In a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency also lashed out at former American Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, for persistently wishing Nigeria’s failure.

In the response statement, released on Thursday in Abuja, quoting a letter addressed to the Publisher of Foreign Affairs magazine, the Presidency frowned at the way and manner facts were being bent to support distorted opinions.

“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,” statement said.

The Presidency further noted that 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,” it said.

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