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Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo What does the UK media have against Buhari?

This year alone, two publications in the United Kingdom have called Buhari’s reputation and administrative capabilities into question.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has been under attack since he signified his interest to run for office in 2014.

This was expected and even natural since Buhari was going against a party which had been in leadership for 16 years.

However, it is interesting to note that even the foreign media has participated in attacks against the president.

This year alone, two publications in the United Kingdom have called Buhari’s reputation and administrative capabilities into question.

Online publication, Daily Mail, on May 8, 2016, queried Buhari’s war against corruption saying that the president himself owns five houses and is paying expensive fees for his children in schools abroad.

“The presence of Nigeria’s president at David Cameron’s anti-corruption summit this week may surprise many in his nation – which receives vast amounts of UK aid,” the report read.

“Self-proclaimed ‘People’s President’ Muhammadu Buhari began a war on corruption after taking power last year, but critics allege it is a political witch-hunt.

“The [UK] Government is giving nearly £250million in the coming year to oil-rich Nigeria, whose president sends his daughter to a £26,000-a-year English school. In April the opposition PDP party unearthed a ticket stub showing Hanan, 16, had flown first-class from London to Nigeria, despite her father’s ban on officials using premium travel.

“The president is reported to have failed to give a full account of his worth, but even his partial admission included more than £1million in the bank, five houses and two plots of land. Supporters say 49 arrests of members of the previous regime show the anti-corruption war is genuine, but opponents say it is politically driven.

“Nigeria has the highest-paid government officials in the world but is one of the largest beneficiaries of UK foreign aid,” it added.

The UK Telegraph had earlier also accused Buhari of using aid gotten from Britain to persecute his political enemies.

“Hundreds of millions of pounds of British foreign aid given to Nigeria to help combat Boko Haram terrorists is instead being used to fund a witch-hunt against opposition politicians, it is being claimed,” it wrote on April 12.

“Britain has committed to spending £860 million in foreign aid to Nigeria, which now boasts Africa’s largest economy, to help support the country’s efforts to crush Boko Haram terror group, which has been responsible for a spate of outrages, including the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls.

“But Western officials are now raising concerns that the government of the country’s recently elected leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, is misusing the funds to persecute political opponents.

“But while Mr Buhari’s government continues to use British aid money to target his political opponents, it is proving less effective at tackling the Islamist-run Boko Haram terrorist group,” it added.

The common bone of contention in the two reports seems to be the amount of “aid” Nigeria is receiving from the UK, but the media cannot be so naïve as to believe that Britain will give such large amounts of money to Nigeria without getting anything in return.

However, even if this were the case, there’s certainly more of Nigeria’s money in the UK than the UK’s in Nigeria and the UK does not seem to be complaining about this.

Corrupt Nigerians have bought homes in the UK and stashed stolen funds there, is the UK doing anything to stop this? Did it refuse to store the money? Did it refuse to sell houses to corrupt Nigerians? Did it deport Nigerians who were spending obviously stolen funds?

Why is the UK accepting Nigerians and Nigerian money into its universities? Why are UK schools sending representatives into Nigeria every other day to collect hard-earned Nigerian money? Why didn’t UK schools refuse to educate Buhari’s children?

Nigeria has a corruption problem, granted, and its public officials definitely need to cut down on their spending, but it would be hypocritical of the UK to complain about giving Nigeria money for “aid” when it is gleefully accepting Nigerian money on a daily basis.

As for questions regarding Buhari’s integrity and the validity of his war against corruption, the UK media needs to present cold hard facts of wrongdoing on the president’s part and stop whipping up sentiments which make it sound like it’s supporting corrupt Nigerians.

Nigerians have been warned that corruption will fight back, and it would be unwise for the UK media to allow itself to be used as a tool for that evil campaign.

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