President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday placed the country on notice over what he described as a plan to launch a smear campaign against him in the media.
According to him, the campaign, which is scheduled to be launched anytime soon, is designed to further exacerbate tension in the land by portraying him as an ethnic bigot, contrary to his pledge to belong to all Nigerians.
President Buhari, who gave the heads-up in a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, alleged that people stoking ethnic and religious unrest in the country are motivated by quest for power and filthy lucre.
“Those who are bent on stoking ethnic and religious unrest in the country remain deaf to reason, and impervious to reality. They are hellbent on distorting reality and Nigerians are urged to be wary of them. It is all about quest for power and filthy lucre,” he said.
He said security sources had revealed that those behind the plot had procured online blogs and newspapers for the plot, which they would launch any moment from now.
According to him, the plan will be implemented through newspapers editorials and special investigative stories designed to exacerbate ethnic/religious tensions in the country. The statement reads in part: “There is compelling reason to alert the nation of another orchestrated smear campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari, using some online newspapers and blogs.
“The campaign, scheduled to be launched anytime soon through editorials and purported special investigative stories, is designed to further exacerbate tension in the land, by portraying the president as pandering to ethnic and other primordial tendencies, contrary to his pledge to belong to all Nigerians.
“Impeccable security findings indicate that those behind the plot have procured online blogs and newspapers, which are to launch coordinated publications, alleging subjugation and suppression of a particular religion and ethnic groups.
“A specific medium has so far contacted some opinion leaders, especially those very critical of President Buhari.
“Part of the planned publication is to make unwary readers believe that the President has continually used the powers of his office to shield and protect an ethnic group against crimes of murder, kidnappings, rape and banditry in the southern, middle belt and some northern states.
“The publication will also refer Nigerians to a 58-page document, which chronicles purported atrocities of the ethnic group in the South since 2017, all of which it claims the presidency has turned blind eyes to.
“Again, the hatchet job will allege that the president has continued to place members of his ethnic nationality in sensitive positions, so as to confer undue advantage on them. This allegation is by no means supported with reasonable facts and figures.”
The presidency recalled that just on Thursday, President Buhari, while meeting with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, restated his even-handedness on the issues of ethnicity and religion. It quoted Buhari as saying at the meeting: “The Federal Government under my leadership does not, and will not, allow religious prejudice or partisanship to influence any of its decisions and policies. It is my solemn decision to be fair and just to all segments of the society.”