The Presidency on Tuesday night described as misconstrued, the various interpretations of President Muhammadu Buhari’s comments during an interview he granted the UK’s Telegraph newspaper on February 5.
It also insisted that President Buhari didn’t call Nigerians criminals in the interview.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the wave of negative reactions trailing the President’s remarks about the reputation of Nigerians abroad was due to incomplete understanding of President Buhari’s point.
He said: “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.”
To know the truth about the matter, he encouraged Nigerians to avail themselves of a full text of the interview already available on the Telegraph’s website.
He said it was preposterous for anyone to imagine that the President of Nigeria would describe all the citizens of the country he leads as criminals, when he himself is a Nigerian–obviously not a criminal–and when there are many Nigerians of honest living making their country proud all over the world.
Shehu, however added: “Unfortunately, there are also Nigerians giving their country a bad image abroad, and it is to those Nigerians that the President referred to in his comments,”
Stressing that people may play politics and online games with the President’s comments, he said the fact of the matter remains that Nigeria’s reputation abroad has been severely damaged by her own citizens.
He said: “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.”