(Intersociety, Onitsha Nigeria: 15th February 2017)-It may most likely be safe to hold that image and information management departments of the Government of Nigeria headed by Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari have become liars without borders, decorum and decency to the extent that in the past 620 days of the Administration (1st June 2015-15th February 2017) or 20 months and a half; not less than 310 lies have been presidentially told and taken beyond borders, decorum and decency.
That is to say that at least one falsehood is presidentially dished out and told in every two days since 1st June 2015. This presidential lie policy has reduced the Buhari Government to a government of hopelessness and made itself very difficult to be believed by most Nigerians and international watchers.
It is recalled that the present Buhari Administration came to power via a highly divisive federal poll on 29th May 2015. The lies under reference, also called presidential falsehood or presidential info virus; are told with reckless abandon in the presidential pronouncements or government positions on key issues bordering on defence and security including government handling of Boko Haram and Nomad Fulani insurgencies and the recent IDP camp bombing; human rights and rule of law including citizens and criminal justice management; government killing of unarmed and nonviolent citizens such as mass killing of Shiite Muslims and Pro Biafra Campaigners.
Others are economy including budget presentation, defence and implementation and general economic policies; anti graft management including placement of allegations or charges on citizens, their arrest, detention and prosecution and government disobedience to court decisions and pronouncements; executive-legislative relations; general administration including non formation of federal cabinet for 150 days; lies associated with President Buhari’s ill-health, his vacation and whereabouts; and regional and international relations and other diplomatic conducts; to name but a few.
The official lies under reference also have mothers-general; and one of the mothers-general is a recent official statement of the Buhari Administration’s Information Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed; to the effect that “the stories of Muslims killing Christians anywhere in Nigeria are fallacies”.
The presidential lie policy also took an international dimension recently when the report of sketchy diplomatic call at the instance of President Donald Trump to ailing President Muhammadu Buhari was flamboyantly and noisily reported and celebrated by Nigeria’s Presidency; forcing many informed and doubting Nigerians to instantly pick holes particularly as it concerns who President Trump purportedly called (Acting President Osibanjo or ailing President Buhari), the location of the call and what was actually said or the true contents of the call as well as government oiled media noise that accompanied such a traditional and routine diplomatic exercise.
We had two days ago or on 13th February 2017 issued a statement on the issue and held that the said diplomatic call between President Donald Trump and President Muhammadu Buhari and its contents might most likely not have taken place and were utterly sketchy; a position we maintain till date. The link below contains the said statement of ours:http://www.intersociety-ng.org/component/k2/item/217-re-trump-speaks-with-buhari--invites-him-to-washington.
We had also on 22nd January 2017, issued another statement in which we rose in strong condemnation of the wanton killing and widespread wounding of unarmed and nonviolent Pro Biafra activists, who assembled in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to mark the inauguration of Mr. Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Nigerians and members of the international community were alerted to watch the unfolding events in the coming weeks including the desperation of the Government of Nigeria to turncoat so as to get the attention of the new Government of the United States desperately or at all costs.
As we had correctly observed in the statement, less than two weeks after same, the sketchy Trump’s call to Buhari, its contents and accompanied controversies hit the global air and news waves. The link below contains our statement under reference: http://www.intersociety-ng.org/component/k2/item/213-pro-trump-rally-killings
Our Resoluteness And Unresolved Controversies Trailing The Sketchy Call And Its Contents:
(a) Criminologically and common-sensually, such weighty diplomatic discussions or phone calls can only take place between two mentally coherent and physically healthy Presidents. It is still a settled opinion in general quarters that all is not well with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria in spite of wherever he is, with a serious doubt rising day and night over his health capability to engage in such weighty diplomatic conversations. The latest clarifications made by the White Press Secretary, Mr. Sean Spicer has further worsened the sketchy status of the said call and messed up its authenticity.
Agreed that under existing international diplomatic rules and conventions including the Vienna Convention of 1961 on Diplomatic Relations (ratified all member-States of UN including USA and Nigeria) and the Vienna Convention of 1969 or Laws of the Treaties of 1969, diplomatic conversations between two or more world leaders are routine and periodical; provided laid down procedures are followed; such as use of official modes of phone communications domiciled in respective communicating governments’ seats of power.
The White House Press Secretary failed to say who President Trump actually called as “Nigerian leader”, the location of the guest-recipient of the purported call (i.e. President Buhari) and what was truly said in the purported call. The White House’s website page for press statements where the readout of President Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders are published has no update on the said interaction with “Nigerian leader” till date; which has entered its 72hrs today.
(b) Circumstantially, affirmative statements contained in Mr. Femi Adesina’s over blown statement, which were credited to President Donald Trump, such as “striking a deal for the provision of military weapons to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram”; “commendation of the Nigerian military over its strides”; “commendation of President Buhari and encouraging him to continue the good work he is doing”; and “bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism” etc; are not only strongly suspected to be Aso Rock planted, but also circumstantially premature to be discussed by the Trump Administration barely one month of his Presidency.
In other ways, several US policies including its policy on Nigeria are apparently at “review stages” for the purpose of policy reversal, or retention, or modification, or consolidation, etc. This is more so when there is a change of guard at the White House (i.e. from out-gone Democrat Government and its policies to the new Republican Government and its new policies). We maintain that such affirmative diplomatic statement on Nigeria possibly falsely credited to President Trump is totally un-Trump and un-Republican like.
That is to say that the US Policy on Nigeria under the new Trump and his Republican Administration is circumstantially and realistically at review stage. If any call has taken place at the instance of President Donald Trump to ailing President Buhari, who is missing in office for more than three weeks now it should strictly be on commiserative and health grounds. US Policy on Nigeria under the new Trump Administration particularly in the area of military pact or supply of weapons is most likely to undergo a surgical review; to be tailored in the Leahy Law and the Republican Foreign Policy tradition. “Encouraging and commending President Buhari to continue with the good work he is doing” (i.e. raging State terrorism and widespread rights abuses); is totally untenable and most likely Aso Rock planted.
(c) Diplomatically, Presidential diplomatic conversations or telephone calls between two world leaders are totally official and internationally customized and recorded. They are official to the extent that official government communication facilities domiciled in respective communicating governments’ seats of power are used. Such call facilities may most likely exclude private or mobile phone lines of the persons of the two leaders.
If this is the case, then our question is: does it mean that President Muhammadu Buhari was quarantined wherever he is together the Aso Rock seat of power call facilities? Or did President Trump call President Muhammadu Buhari on his private mobile phone? Or was it that Acting President Osibanjo that President Donald Trump called? Our major point or ground of disagreement till date is that President Donald Trump never called ailing President Muhammadu Buhari in the atmosphere of physical and mental coherence and calling an ailing President who is not on seat for over three weeks and who is outside his sovereign territory; may not validly constitute international diplomatic calls or conversations. Such a call, among other things, is far from being official.
(d) What May Most Likely Have Transpired: It is recalled that the Buhari Administration got enmeshed in diplomatic blunders when it blindly and vindictively supported; some say in cash and kind, the former and failed Obama Administration and its Democratic Party. Following the emergence of the new Trump Administration, the Buhari Government circumstantially and diplomatically became jittery and desperate; fearing among other things, the possible policy shift by the new Trump Administration particularly as it concerns the Buhari Administration’s heinous and widespread rights abuses and its hard-line posture towards Christians, the Igbo Race and Pro Biafra Pacifist Self Determination Campaigns.
It is on account of the foregoing that we renew our earlier call on the White House Spokesperson and the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs of the new Donald Trump Administration to issue detailed written statements or address the media over the issue with a view to stating what actually transpired. Such clarifications must be explicit and clearly answer the questions as: did President Donald truly call “Nigerian leader”? If yes, who was the “Nigerian leader” called (Acting President Osibanjo or ailing President Buhari? What did President Trump tell the “Nigerian leader” that he purportedly called? Through which communication modes was the purported call made? Private mobile phone or domiciled call facilities in Nigeria’s seat of power in Abuja?
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Barr Obianuju Igboeli
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348180771506