President Muhammadu Buhari was interviewed by Martine Dennis on Al Jazeera while he was in Qatar last week. Buhari refused to watch shooting of unarmed pro-Biafra protesters. The interview was broadcast today.
He was asked about the shooting of unarmed pro-Biafran protesters in Aba, Abia State on 9 February this year and Dennis suggested he could watch the video. Buhari point-blank refused to watch and then said the pro-Biafrans “should not be joking with Nigerian security”. His disinterest in the shooting of unarmed people would be of interest if he ever faced trial for crimes against humanity, considering that as president, he is ultimately responsible for the actions of security forces in the country.
The Biafran part of the interview came towards the end after another train-wreck of a performance from the president. Despite Dennis’s friendly disposition, unlike her Al Jazeera colleague Mehdi Hasan, who tore Buhari to shreds in an interview on the channel in October last year, the president continued to show why his dwindling band of supporters would cringe with embarrassment whenever he faces any interviewer that does more than toss him soft balls.
He was questioned about his foreign exchange policy affecting Nigerians who had children studying abroad – just like he did. His response was that “those who can afford it can afford it”.
It appears he is among those that can afford to send their children abroad for education, which is different from the picture he painted when he claimed, while running for president, that he could not afford the nomination fee.
Buhari’s response to detailed questioning on the padding of his budget was to tell the interviewer that “you know more about our budget than I do”.
After his spokesman Garba Shehu had declared in February that the president turned down the invitation of Saudi Arabia to join a coalition of Islamic states against terror, Buhari flip-flopped in this interview to state that Nigeria had joined. He did not seem concerned that Nigeria was not an Islamic state and said that any Christians complaining about it can go and fight Boko Haram.
Questioned about whether he had defeated Boko Haram after claiming that he would defeat them by the end of December last year, Buhari told Dennis that the people of Nigeria knew better than her.