From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has described as wrong, a Financial Times article on the state of security and the economy under President Muhammadu Buhari.
It also added that the article is predictable from a correspondent who jets briefly in and out of Nigeria on the same British Airways flight he so criticises.
The article — titled ‘What is Nigeria’s Government for?’ by David Pilling, African editor of Financial Times, was published on January 31, 2022.
In the article, Pilling said Buhari has “overseen two terms of an economic slump, rising debt and a calamitous increase in kidnapping and banditry”.
He added that Nigeria has “sleepwalked closer to disaster” under Buhari.
“Next year, many of the members of government will change, though not necessarily the bureaucracy behind it. Campaigning has already begun for presidential elections that in February 2023 will draw the curtain on eight years of the administration of Muhammadu Buhari, on whose somnolent watch Nigeria has sleepwalked closer to disaster,” Pilling had said in the article.
Reacting to the article, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a letter addressed to Financial Times, on Sunday, said the article left out the “security gains” of the current government.
“We wish to correct the wrong perceptions contained in the article “What is Nigeria’s Government For” by David Pilling, Financial Times (UK), January 31, 2022,” the letter reads.
“The caricature of a government sleepwalking into disaster (What is Nigeria’s government for? January 31, 2022) is predictable from a correspondent who jets briefly in and out of Nigeria on the same British Airways flight he so criticises.
“He highlights rising banditry in my country as proof of such slumber. What he leaves out are the security gains made over two presidential terms.
“The terror organisation Boko Haram used to administer an area the size of Belgium at the inauguration; now, they control no territory.
“The first comprehensive plan to deal with decades-old clashes between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers – experienced across the width of the Sahel – has been introduced: pilot ranches are reducing the competition for water and land that drove past tensions.
“Banditry grew out of such clashes. Criminal gangs took advantage of the instability, flush with guns that flooded the region following the Western-triggered implosion of Libya.
“The situation is grave.
“Yet as with other challenges, it is one that the government will face down.”