Rights abuses: We’re not an­swer­able to US, UK, says Pres­i­dency

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

THE Pres­i­dency says Nige­ria is a sov­er­eign na­tion and will not be both­ered about the re­ports from the United States, the United King­dom and the Euro­pean Union as re­gards hu­man rights abuses.

The Spe­cial Ad­viser to the Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Femi Adesina, said this on Chan­nels Tele­vi­sion’s ‘Pol­i­tics To­day’ pro­gramme on Wed­nes­day.

Adesina was asked to re­act to re­ports from the EU, UK and the US that Nige­ria’s high record of hu­man rights abuses.

He was also asked to re­act to the in­va­sion of the Fed­eral High Court, Abuja by men of the Depart­ment of State Ser­vices who ar­rested the Pub­lisher of Sa­harareport­ers, Omoyele Sowore, last Fri­day.

Re­spond­ing to the ques­tion, Adesina said, “We are not an­swer­able to the US, the UK or the EU. We are Nige­ria, a sov­er­eign coun­try. Those coun­tries and en­ti­ties have is­sues of their own. Let them deal with their is­sues. Let Nige­ria also deal with her in­ter­nal is­sues. We are not an­swer­able to them.”

When asked to re­spond to crit­i­cisms against the regime of the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor General Muham­madu Buhari (retd.) by Prof. Wole Soyinka, Adesina said the No­bel laureate was free to ex­press his opin­ion.

“We re­spect Prof. Soyinka. You don’t have too many of them in the coun­try or even on the con­ti­nent. He is an avatar and he is well re­spected but his opin­ion will re­main his opin­ion. It will be con­sid­ered and if there are things to act on, we will act on them,” he said.

Adesina said the Pres­i­dency would not take the opin­ion of a few Nige­ri­ans as that of the ma­jor­ity.

He said the ul­ti­ma­tum is­sued by 14 civil so­ci­ety groups as well as the ed­i­to­rial by The

PUNCH was not the mind of the ma­jor­ity of Nige­ri­ans.

“Gen­uine is­sues will be looked into. We have had in­stances in which the gov­ern­ment had to re­verse it­self be­cause there were con­cerns raised. It shows that the gov­ern­ment is re­spon­sive but you can­not lis­ten to a bab­ble of voices. It will dis­tract you from what you are do­ing,” the Pres­i­dent’s spokesman said.

When re­minded of the fact that he was also a jour­nal­ist be­fore tak­ing up the job to be the Pres­i­dent’s spokesman, Adesina said he would re­main true to his call­ing.

“I am still in the me­dia. It is just that the roles are a bit re­versed... when I am done with gov­ern­ment by the grace of God, I will still re­turn to the me­dia,” he said.

Adesina said he would not make any com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions lev­elled against the nephew of the Pres­i­dent, Mam­man Daura; and the Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Garba Shehu; by the

First Lady, Aisha Buhari.

In a state­ment on Wed­nes­day, Mrs Buhari had al­leged that Shehu, took or­ders from Daura, adding that Daura or­dered Shehu to is­sue a state­ment an­nounc­ing that the of­fice of the first lady had been scrapped.

When asked to re­act to the al­le­ga­tions, Adesina said the ques­tions should be di­rected to Shehu since it was he that the al­le­ga­tions were lev­elled against.

He fur­ther stated that he did not like to med­dle in the Pres­i­dent’s fam­ily af­fairs ex­cept he was asked to speak on the mat­ter by the Pres­i­dent him­self.

Photo: Sa­heed Olug­bon

•Lagos State Gov­er­nor, Mr Baba­jide Sanwo-olu (mid­dle), with the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Pub­lic Ser­vice Of­fice, Mr Samson Ajibade (left), dur­ing an un­sched­uled visit to of­fices in the state sec­re­tariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos... on Wed­nes­day.

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