The presidency has refuted reports circulating online that President Goodluck Jonathan travelled with a 600-man delegation on Sunday to the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York as false and accused the originator of the report of continuing in its “scurrilous and baseless” attacks on the present administration.
The presidency while expressing regrets at the reports which it described as the “usual fare of mischief, outright falsehood and erroneous speculation”, affirmed that there “is absolutely no truth in the allegation”.
A statement issued yesterday and signed by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, recalled that the latest publication is a rehash of previous lies which has been reported annually against Mr. Jonathan whenever he leads Nigeria’s delegation to the UNGA.
“The truth is that less than 30 persons arrived in New York with the President this morning as members of his entourage. Other than them, the only other persons who are in New York for the UN General Assembly with the President’s knowledge and approval are relevant ministers and few essential aides”, Abati stated.
He explained further that “President Jonathan’s official delegation is definitely not out of proportion with Nigeria’s size, role and relevance in Africa and the global community”, even as he noted that the claim by the online news medium “that the President’s delegation is the largest at this year’s General Assembly is an unjustifiable fabrication which can never stand any rigorous test of truthfulness.”
The presidential spokesman added that “We are certainly aware that many Nigerian citizens are currently on visits to New York. These persons are here for their own purposes and neither President Jonathan nor his administration has any responsibility for the presence of these persons in New York.”
He concluded that these persons, “who include Nigerian businessmen who are here for an African Business Roundtable event, members of non-governmental organizations and tourists” could have been counted as members of the “Nigerian delegation” by the online news medium “for the sole purpose of mischief-making”.