From John Adams, Minna
Former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and Chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger State, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, has carpeted the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, over his recent comment on the abducted schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina State, saying that his comment is capable of causing anarchy in an already tense atmosphere in the country.
Vatsa said Shehu should resign before Nigerians can accept his apology, saying that his recent comments are not only unprofessional but worst than hate speech, and amount to fake news.
The former Niger APC spokesman remarked that in an ideal society ‘people like Garba Shehu should not only be made to resign for spreading fake news and falsehood, he should be subjected to mental examinations.’
The Presidential spokesman, in the wake of the Kankara schoolboys’ abduction, had informed the public that only 10 students were taken as against the over 300 boys that were actually held hostage by their abductors.
Shehu had later retracted his earlier statement and apologised to Nigerians over the understatement.
Vatsa, however, reacting in Minna on Saturday to the release of the schoolboys’, stated that ‘before Nigerians can accept Garba Shehu’s apology for misleading Nigerians and the parents of the abducted Schoolboys, he should, first of all, resign his appointment.
‘If he resigned honourably for his unguided comment and falsehood to the public then Nigerians, including myself can accept his apology. He has taken Nigerians for granted over his two recent comments.
‘This is the most unprofessional thing for any image maker of a government should do. His comments on the killings of some farmers in Borno and the Kankara Schoolboys abduction is enough reason for him to resign his appointment.’
Vatsa continued that Shehu ‘has succeeded in portraying this government as one full of deceits.’
Vatsa, a coordinator on public affairs to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, said it is unfortunate that the President is keeping his spokesman after denting the image of the government with his two recent misleading comments.
He regretted that ‘asking President Buhari to sack Garba Shehu over his “unguided statement” will amount to “trying to squeezed water out of a stone”.adding that, “Buhari has closed his ears to any agitations or outcry from Nigerians who voted him into office.’
Vatsa nonetheless commended Buhari for securing the release of the Schoolboys, saying: ‘He has saved over 300 parents from trauma.’