Presidency defends Buhari’s UAE trip


The presidency on Friday described as unfair claim that President Muhammadu Buhari was not responsive to victims of various deadly attacks in the country.

Buhari’s decision to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a condolence visit over the death of the country’s President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had sparked angry reactions from Nigerians.

The President was criticised for not commiserating with the many victims of banditry, herdsmen attack, Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, who featured in a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, branded the claim as baseless.

He said: “Those Nigerians should be told that they should look at all of the facts. I have accompanied the President to Sokoto on a condolence visit after a major incident.

“I accompanied him to Zamfara. He spoke to the governor, parliamentarians, religious and traditional leaders.

“I accompanied the President to Benue State. He addressed the governor in the Government House, Makurdi, after a major incident. I accompanied him to Jos after a crisis.

“So, did the President go to all the places where there have been incidents of violence or killings? No, he did not go.

“However, it is unfair also to make the conclusion wrongly that he had not paid attention or had not visited. He had been to Maiduguri quite a number of times.

“It depends on what Nigerians choose to look at. The President has been responsive and he has been discharging the obligations that rest upon him as the President and Commander-in-Chief in dealing with all of these matters. He has not cut short in any way.

“The point I want to make is that the administration has been very responsive. You just mentioned the railway incident in Kaduna and this last week, the incident in Kano of an explosion.

“The Vice-President of Nigeria was in both places. This country has one presidency. If the President is not there on account of engagements and the Vice-President is there, let us assume that the presidency of Nigeria has attended to the matters.”