Open Letter To Baroness Cox, and Her Co-Signers

House of Lords,

Parliament of the United Kingdom

SW1

Dear Madam,

I write in reference to the statement given to the press by a spokesman of the Nigerian President, one Mr Garba Shehu, in which he disparaged your good selves, as well as Lt General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, a former Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, and tried to pass off his boss, as a caring statesman who is trying his best to bring peace to Nigeria.

I would urge you not to give any credence to the statement by Mr Shehu, who is well known in Nigeria as an agent of disinformation.

For example, in trying to discredit General Danjuma, Mr Shehu stated as follows:

“He was last in a government position 17 years ago in 2003 (as Minister of Defence). At that time, religious and ethnic riots erupted in two states of the federation, (2001 and 2002). These were violently and ruthlessly put down by the military under his authority, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of some further 50,000 persons. He is, therefore, not a natural source of pressure for good governance.”

If the above is true, then that same action disqualifies Mr Garba Shehu himself, because he was a spokesman for that very same government, which he now disparages. He held the position of Special Assistant on Media at the Presidency at that material time, before he was sacked and later arrested, for actions that undermined that government and Nigeria’s national security interests.

He has remained bitter since his sack and lacks the capacity to offer an unbiased appraisal of that government that he served until he was booted out.

Garba Shehu will say anything to please his paymasters, and I call your attention to a statement he made on August 22, 2017, wherein, to explain away the long absence of General Buhari from his office (which was later discovered to be due to ill health), Mr Shehu claimed that rats and other rodents had occupied the President’s office and he was staying away from his office as a result!

Mr Shehu is a propagandist whose words have little or no value.

In any case, in keeping with the legal maxim that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands, Mr Shehu, has also, by his admission, shown that “He is, therefore, not a natural source of pressure for good governance” being that he served with Mr Danjuma in the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo, that he now disparages.

Furthermore, Mr Garba Shehu said: “Our government is made equally of Christian and Muslim cabinet members. Our Vice President is an evangelical pastor.”

This is a lie, and Mr Shehu is known for this type of behaviour, which is known as Taqiyya, a deliberate disinformation, for religious purposes.

It is not true that the government of General Muhammadu Buhari is “made equally of Christian and Muslim”.

Under General Muhammadu Buhari, the heads of the three arms of government, namely the Executive, Judiciary, Legislature, are Northern Muslim males. This has never before happened in the history of Nigeria, until Buhari rose to power.

In addition to this, the entire Nigerian military is effectively controlled by Northern Muslim males. For example, the Minister of Defence, and the heads of the Army, Airforce, Police, DMI, DSS, EFCC, NIA, NCS, NPS, and 90% of the headship of Nigeria’s security agencies are all Northern Muslim males.

This administration is very good at window dressing, and will cite General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, a Christian, who was appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff. Please be aware that this position is a desk position, with absolutely no real power. The powers are wielded by the National Security Adviser, the Minister of Defence, Chief of Army Staff, and others in actual command of troops. These are all, without exception, Northern Muslim males.

Mr Garba Shehu is a skilled misinformer. He lied when he said: “When the government came to power, the terrorist group held and administered an area the size of Belgium. Now they hold none. The terrorists are hiding out amongst remote forests and across borders.”

This is not true. When General Buhari assumed power on May 29, 2015, Boko Haram had been defeated in Nigeria, which was why the 2015 elections held in every polling unit in Nigeria, including those in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.

How could elections hold, if Boko Haram held the territories in which the elections were held? As a matter of fact, according to the Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram is stronger today, than they were in 2015. You would be reminded that the GTI has no dog in this fight, and so have no reason to lie.

The truth, which Garba Shehu seeks to muddle up, is that General Buhari and his cronies have made comments and taken actions that show that they have sympathy for some of those responsible for the violence.

After emerging victorious in the 2015 election, General Buhari, at an event at the United States Institute for Peace, said on July 25, 2015, as follows:

“Constituents, for example, that gave me 97% cannot, in all honesty, be treated, on some issues, with constituencies that gave me 5%.”

He proved this, by sending thousands of soldiers to the areas where he got very little votes, to quash groups that were protesting peacefully, while treating groups in areas that he felt supported him with kid gloves.

For example, General Buhari sent only 300 policemen to stop the genocide against Christians in Southern Kaduna (where his crony, Governor El-Rufai, admitted paying killer herdsmen), and sent 30,000 policemen to Edo state, to help his crony, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, win elections.

Furthermore, on October 13, 2017, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said: “You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that. Now, it has been very difficult. The work there has been very difficult.”

What reason would the President of the World Bank have to lie against General Buhari?

So, in summary, I would urge the House of Lords, and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, not to fall for the Taqiyya manipulations of Garba Shehu, a man with no sense of honour, who now attacks the government that he once served, just to please his current paymasters.

Should the current Nigerian government’s tenure end, and a new and opposing one emerges, characters, like Garba Shehu, would once again change their tunes.

Reno Omokri

#1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveller. Hollywood Magazine Film Festival Humanitarian of the Year, 2019.

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