Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, has opened up on his worst experiences as Buhari’s spokesperson.
Shehu, who previously served as spokesman of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, was appointed by Buhari in 2015 and reappointed in 2019.
In an interview with BBC, Shehu revealed that his statements on Kankara abduction and Zabarmari massacre were his worst experiences under Buhari.
In November 2020, Boko Haram militants attacked a group of rice farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, Nigeria.
The attack resulted in the deaths of at least 43 farmers, Garba Shehu issued a statement in which he claimed that the farmers had “no permission to be there.”
This statement was widely condemned, with many people accusing Shehu of blaming the victims for their own deaths.
In December same year, gunmen abducted over 300 students from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State.
Reacting to the abduction, Shehu said the number of girls abducted was “not more than 10.”
This statement also was met with disbelief by many, as eyewitnesses had reported seeing hundreds of students being taken away.
He later issued a statement apologising for the incorrect communication that only 10 were kidnapped.
Shehu told BBC: “When Boko Haram killed more than 50 farmers, some were even saying they are 110 in Zabarmari Borno State, and the abduction of more than 300 girls in Kankara Katsina State.
“In all these two incidents, security authoritatively told me false information, I used it but later was proven otherwise. Like Kankara case where about 300 girls were abducted but the persons that should ideally know the situation told me that those kidnapped were not more than 10, I am still in pain of these.
“I publicly issued the statement, these girls have parents and relatives, they might have felt we were downplaying the seriousness of the situation, I saw them when they were released, they were 270, I regretted saying they were not more than 10.
“The same happened on Zabarmari case, I was told wrong information and I made it public. The things are past now and I have apologized.”