Buhari Media Organisation accuses Atiku of hiring US lobbyist for $90,000 a month to spread fake news

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari's campaign team has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenger Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of hiring an American lobbyist for $90,000 a month to release fake news on his behalf ahead of next month's elections.


On February 16, Nigeria will hold her presidential elections in what is expected to be a two-horse race between Alhaji Abubakar and President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), Alhaji Abubakar, the former vice president, is responsible for the recent publication of fake news in the media as he is using the American consultancy to propagate untruths.


BMO chairman Niyi Akinsiju added that the recent rise of fake news on social media, targeted at the Nigerian military was the handiwork of the former vice president. He listed recent claims of terrorists’ attacks on the military, the desertion by police personnel, allegations of corruption scandals in the military hierarchy and the resurfacing of a 2014 claim by soldiers of lack of weaponry as fake reports all sponsored by Alhaji Abubakar.



A statement signed by Mr Akinsiju and the BMO secretary Cassidy Madueke, said: “Atiku Abubakar’s desperation knows no bounds. His recent move to sponsor narratives through fake news that paint Nigeria’s security personnel as weak and incapable of carrying out their duties is an example of the PDP candidate’s desperation and lack of patriotism.


“It is shameful that a former vice president of Nigeria would procure the service of an American lobby firm to sponsor fake news aimed at attacking the morale and credibility of Nigeria’s armed forces. In addition to this is the hiring of foreign trolls to man their online handles in a way that is against national interest.


"Their aim is to destroy national institutions, including the Independent national Electoral Commission and cause confusion after realising that they had lost the contest even before the votes are cast. This goes to emphasise the fact that Mr Abubakar does not have Nigeria’s interest at heart and must be kept far away from the seat of power.


"The PDP has nothing to sell to Nigerians. It has a candidate who is notorious for corruption allegations and is distrusted across the globe, aside being the candidate of a party responsible for the pillage of Nigeria’s treasury.


“Reports by an American firm making unbacked claims that the recently slain former chief of defence staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh, was killed to hide corruption under the current defence leadership was fake news and the handiwork of Mr Brian Ballard, the US lobbyist Atiku procured at $90,000 a month. It also is a blatant lie that Atiku Abubakar, as head of Customs at the Lagos airport in 1984 stopped the aide camp of the then head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, from smuggling in 53 suitcases of looted money.


“This is a matter that was settled back then. The suitcases were the personal belongings of the then Nigerian ambassador to Libya who was returning to the country after his tour of duty with his three wives and 16 children.


“The late ambassador was coming into the country at the same time as the Emir of Gwandu whose son was General Buhari’s aide camp and his suitcases were falsely presented to the public as those of the emir. So from all indications, the suitcases which were cleared through Customs by soldiers had nothing to do with Buhari and there was nothing to suggest that illicit funds were being brought into the country.”