Human rights abuses: Stop interfering in Nigeria's affairs, Presidency tells U.S., UK, EU

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The Presidency on Wednesday warned the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to stop interfering in Nigeria’s affairs, especially on the issue of human rights abuses.

Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, made the statement during an interview on Channels TV “Politics Today” programme, when he was asked to react to reports from the EU, UK and the US that Nigeria has a high record of human rights abuses.

Mr. Adesina explained that Nigeria is a sovereign nation and will not be bothered about the reports from the foreign countries.

He was also asked to react to the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) who arrested the Publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, last Friday.

Adesina reacting to the issues, he said:

“We are Nigeria, a sovereign country. Those countries and entities have issues of their own. Let them deal with their issues. Let Nigeria also deal with her internal issues. We are not answerable to them.”

When Adenisa was asked to respond to criticisms against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) by Prof. Wole Soyinka, Adesina said the Nobel laureate was free to express his opinion.

“We respect Professor Soyinka. You don’t have too many of them in the country or even on the continent. He is an avatar and he is well respected but his opinion will remain his opinion. It will be considered and if there are things to act on, we will act on them,” he said.

Some lawmakers from the UK and the U.S. have called for the release of Mr. Sowore but the federal government has rebuffed this.

Apart from Mr. Sowore, the Nigerian government is also illegally detaining many others including a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and the Shiite leader, Ibrahim El Zakzaky.

Adesina said the Presidency would not take the opinion of a few Nigerians as that of the majority.

“Genuine issues will be looked into. We have had instances in which the government had to reverse itself because there were concerns raised,” Mr. Adesina said.

“It shows that the government is responsive but you cannot listen to a babble of voices. It will distract you from what you are doing.”

When reminded of the fact that he was also a journalist before taking up the job to be the President’s spokesman, Mr. Adesina said:

“I am still in the media. It is just that the roles are a bit reversed. When I am done with the government by the grace of God, I will still return to the media”.

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