The comment by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, that the office of President Muhammadu Buhari is being renovated because rodents damaged it has been receiving backlash from Nigerians.
Shehu in an interview with BBC Pidgin Service on Tuesday had said the office was being renovated because rodents damaged it.
“After im no dey for office for about three months, rodents don cause plenty damage for di furniture and air conditioning units wey dey for im office and dis na why e dey work from home for now,” Shehu told BBC in pidgin English.
The AFP also reported on Tuesday that Shehu said rodents damaged the President’s office.
It reported that Shehu confirmed that the animals damaged furniture and air conditioning fittings in the President’s office while he was in London receiving treatment.
“These are also general works and it is not uncommon for Nigerian presidents to also work from the Presidential Villa.
“What is important is that the job gets done. Whether he does it from his bedroom or his sitting room or his anteroom; it does not matter. Let the job be done. And the job will be done,” Shehu also told Arise News.
Shehu failed to state the species of rodent that was responsible for the damage which occurred during the President’s prolonged absence for an undisclosed medical condition.
“I do not have that level of detail,” he said, adding that it was unclear how long the refurbishment would last.
Shehu’s statement attracted comments from online readers on Tuesday.
A reader, Thebeloved, wrote, “How many national documents have the rodents chop ooo? Messrs Femi & Garba are more comedians than Basketmouth.”
Another reader, Tunaik, said rodents took over the office because the cat (Buhari) was away.
“The cat (Buhari) went away for a while and the rodents have taken over the space. And politically same seemed to have happened. Oh dear! But the man is going to sort out the literal and political termites and usurpers.” Tunaik wrote.
Another commentator, Ichie, posted, “Now it is clear; Buhari was referring to the army of rodents in his broadcast as ‘irresponsible elements.’ Baba, deal with those animals ruthlessly, they thought they would vandalise your office as they did to GEJ’s residence (Goodluck Jonathan). Abi they want to call your office abandoned property just because you went on vacation for just 104days?”
A reader, Smart G, said Buhari was not ready to resume.
He wrote, “So there is no fumigation contract in Aso Rock? Laughable. This clearly shows that Buhari was never ready to come back. Kudos to the #ResumeorResign group; who says protests don’t work?”
“Rats destroying Buhari’s office? Why only his office? Why didn’t they also destroy (Yemi) Osinbajo’s office? Shehu Garbage, try another lie when he refuses to show up at FEC tomorrow (Wednesday) because that hall was in use every week since the old man left Nigeria,” Fecilia Akinwale posted.
Also, a civil society group, Office of the Citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria said the claim was meant to cover up Buhari’s weakness and inability to cope with the rigour of office due to illhealth.
The Coordinator of the group, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said the President’s aides were trying to hide the truth about Buhari’s poor health with ridiculous and embarrassing claims.
He said the administration raised Nigerians’ expectation, but failed to live up to its promises, noting that the government was desperately trying to hide its failure with cheap lies and outlandish claims.
He said, “Looking at the President, it is obvious that he is not sound; he is not healthy, but in an attempt to paint a different picture, they come up with all kinds of lies.
“He is not strong enough to move from his home to the office every day and that is why they resolved that the President should attend to the little things he could do at home.
“The Buhari administration is struggling with truth, integrity and transparency. It raised Nigerians expectations in terms of its character and value, but it is now a challenge for them to live up to that expectation. The tragedy of that is the kind of lies they are churning out; it is ridiculous and an embarrassment to this nation.”