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Buhari launches diplomatic war, directs High Commissioner to write The Economist

A file photo of the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Sarafa Tunji Isola.

Since the riveting article by the London-based magazine, The Economist, on how Nigeria’s ability to surmount the rising threat posed by insurgency, secessionist and banditry is challenged by the present unpatriotic and inept administration, the embattled President Muhammadu Buhari, has launched a series of attack aimed at the highly reputed international media organization.

Starting with the Nigerian Army’s bashing of the report, then the State House statement by Senior Special Assistant Garba Shehu and now a diplomatic letter from the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Sarafa Tunji Isola. This appears to be an attempt to pressure the magazine through its home government and diplomatic channels. Or, so a source in the presidency thinks.

The source said: “The President and his inner circle (cabal) are so rattled by the article, which is mostly factual, to the extent that they may never recover recover from the shock and have hence decided to vehemently fight back. This is because, since 2015, no anti-Buhari article by an international magazine has had as much factual punches and dented its image as much as this one by The Economist.”

This could explain this latest deployment of diplomatic channel through the Nigerian High Commission in London as announced by the Presidency in a statement by Garba Shehu on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

YOUR PICTURE OF NIGERIA IS SELECTIVE AND UNFAIR TO YOUR READERS, NIGERIAN ENVOY TO UK TELLS THE ECONOMIST MAGAZINE

The Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola has described the characterisation of Nigeria by the London-based magazine, The Economist, in its recent edition as unfair, saying that the issues confronting Nigeria have been long-standing and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is achieving tremendous results in tackling them.

In a letter written to The Economist in response to a piece titled, Insurgency, Secessionism and Banditry Threaten Nigeria, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola described The Economist’s characterization of Nigeria as unfair, saying that the issues confronting Nigeria have been long-standing and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is achieving tremendous results in tackling them.

“The Economist is correct to point out the multiple security and governance challenges that Nigeria presently faces. But the picture that you present is selective and unfair to your readers. The decay of agencies and institutions has gathered momentum for decades. There is no quick or simple fix. It is unwise to pretend otherwise,” he added

According to the statement, Ambassador Isola stated in the letter to the organisation that President Buhari had been elected twice in national elections and was indeed making progress by working with international partners:

“There has been progress. Nigeria works closely with partners in the Sahel region, Europe and the US on security and intelligence. It is not an accident that the leadership of militant groups is weaker than it has ever been. You highlight the need for police reform: this is a process that President Buhari’s administration has led, including the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). We are already working with the UK and others on training and equipment,” he added.

The High Commissioner said Nigeria’s “robust COVID-19 response as well as the President’s battle to provide stable energy for the country as noteworthy:

“Nigeria has led the region in a robust response to COVID-19 that has helped keep infection levels well below many parts of the world, while also helping to mitigate the economic shocks from the global downturn for the most vulnerable. President Buhari has also championed reforms to the energy sector, the cradle for corruption, in the teeth of fierce resistance from the old, business-as-usual brigade.”

As if it is a campaign for reelection in 2023, the Higher Commissioner claimed on behalf of the Buhari administration that “progress being made in agriculture, creative arts and technology sectors among others does not sit well with corrupt-minded individuals in the country.”

“Nigeria is far from being the only country that faces the challenge of trying to deliver overdue change in a political culture that tilts towards special interests that are often selfish and short-term. Optimism in sectors as diverse as agriculture, creative arts and technology point to the opportunities that are already being realised. It will be a long haul: a corrupt cabal will say we are not doing enough: what they mean is that we have already done too much, in terms ending the impunity enjoyed by the few and helping to enfranchise the many,” he added.

Ambassador Isola concluded that President Buhari is also working with international partners to diminish problems associated with extremism and climate change and leave the country more united.

“Nor indeed is this simply a Nigerian project. We are on the frontline of the international struggle against violent extremism, climate change and a host of other issues. These are common but complex challenges that require common and complex solutions. President Buhari, like millions of Nigerians, rejects the identity politics that has polarised so many other countries. Our diversity is our strength,” he concluded.

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