The presidency says John Campbell, a former US ambassador to Nigeria, has been “consistently” proven wrong over his predictions that the country will collapse.
The presidency was reacting to a recent article co-authored by Campbell and Robert Rotberg.
The authors, in the article published on Foreign Affairs, said Nigeria is in big trouble and has failed in its obligation to provide security to those it governs.
They also said Nigeria, “Africa’s giant”, is failing and on the verge of collapse.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said while Campbell is entitled to his opinions, events have proven his predictions wrong.
Shehu further said Campbell distorted facts to suit an argument when he wrote in the article that President Muhammadu Buhari requested that AFRICOM be moved to Nigeria.
“Ambassador Campbell has been predicting the collapse of Nigeria for several years. He is of course entitled to his opinions, even where events consistently prove him wrong. But facts should not be bent to support distorted opinions,” Shehu wrote.
“Let me give you one example. The authors write: ‘At an April meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Buhari reportedly requested that the headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command be moved from Germany to Nigeria so that it would be closer to the fight against jihadi groups in the country’s north.’
“President Buhari did not request that AFRICOM move to Nigeria. The transcript of the call with Secretary Blinken is available on the State Department’s own website.
“It’s not just a question of the invented addition of ‘to Nigeria’ with regard to AFRICOM. It sums up a piece that attempts – subtly but revealingly – to shift facts to suit an argument. Nigeria faces multiple challenges, not least of which is the dissemination of fake news and prejudiced opinion.
“This is something we have come to expect from partisan blogs and politically motivated lobbies. It is still a surprise, and a disappointment, to see them joined by Foreign Affairs.”
Buhari had, in April, asked the United States to consider relocating the headquarters of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Germany to Africa.
The relocation, according to Buhari, is necessary as part of efforts to address insecurity in Nigeria and other African nations.