Thursday, March 29, 2018 10:54 am
The Nigerian Presidency has reacted to controversies over the award given to President Muhammadu Buhari earlier in the week by individuals who claimed to be family members of late American human rights activist, Martin Luther King.
While announcing the award to Buhari, the Nigerian presidency had in a tweet said: “President @MBuhari today at the State House received Martin Luther King Jnr’s family. He was also conferred with the 1st Black History Month National Black Excellence and Exceptional African Leadership Award 2018.
Mr. Isaac Newton-Farris, alleged to be a nephew of Martin Luther King Jnr, had in a speech he delivered in a dinner held after the award urged Nigerians to re-elect Buhari in 2019.
But the Martin Luther family later disowned the award on twitter, saying, “The award given to President Buhari of Nigeria was not given by The King Center, at the request of The King Center or by the children of #MLK and #CorettaScottKing. @MrFixNigeria.”
But on Thursday morning, Abdurrahman Balogun, media aide to Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, SSA to the President on Foreign And Diaspora said the award was ‘disowned’ because of disagreement among the visiting family members over endirsement of Buhari by one of them.
He said:“Our attention has been drawn to obviously fake on line news reports on the visit of some members of the MLK family to Nigeria.
“The members, led by the Matriarch of MLK, Naomi Barbara King, were in Nigeria as part of the activities initiated to celebrate a low- key Black History Month in Nigeria as part of deepening partnership between Africa and its Diaspora.
” As part of the activities, they visited President Muhammadu Buhari and gave him a commemorative plaque for his fight against corruption and what they termed from the “ Africania Diaspora” a term for Africans in Diaspora for which the oldest of them all Naomi Barbara King was selected to present on behalf of the family (NOT MLK CENTER) as a sign of appreciation to the Nigerian President.
“It must be categorically stated here that the trip was totally privately funded and not one kobo was spent by the Nigerian government as it was all a private initiative.
“However, after two days in Nigeria, one of the members apparently granted an interview which was seen as being political , asking Nigerians to give President Muhammadu Buhari a chance to continue his good works especially of fighting corruption in Nigeria.
“As a non political group , he was asked to refute the statement , which he refused to , insisting that was how he felt , and it was his personal opinion, not that of the family nor the centre, of which he is a board member and was the Chief Operating Officer for over five years.
“This may have led to some arguements among them , which they have said they will resolve when they get back to the US., which apparently led to the tweet being circulated
“The visit to Nigeria was quite successful that they extended their stay for two major days, surprised at the negative reports on Nigeria.
“Members of the public are hereby urged to please discountenance any fake news about the visit and avoid the temptation of destroying all the good things for the sake of Politics as the administration marches on in the fight against against corruption.”