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Aso Rock explains why it announced that rats invaded president’s office

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Aso Rock explains why it announced that rats invaded president’s office

A top ranking official in the office of President Buhari sheds some light on the Aso Rock rat invasion.

Members of the Presidential Investigation Panel presenting the report of their investigation to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja  (Facebook/Sahara Reporters)

In an exclusive chat with Pulse, an aide of President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why the presidency chose to tell Nigerians and the rest of the world that Rats had damaged the air-conditioning and furniture in the office of the nation’s Commander-In-Chief, while he was away.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had disclosed that Rodents had wrought plenty of damage in President Buhari’s Aso Rock office; a situation that meant Buhari now has to be working from home for a couple of weeks, pending when the damaged office furniture is fixed.

Buhari made a return to Nigeria on August 19, 2017, after spending 103 days in London on a medical vacation. In his absence, said Shehu, Rodents ransacked his office space and punctured furniture for fun.

The President and his media team in London, shortly before his return  (Twitter/@NGRPresident )

“Following the three months period of disuse, Rodents have caused a lot of damage to the furniture and the air conditioning units,”Shehu lamented.

Shehu also disclosed that it isn’t uncommon for Nigerian presidents to work from home.

“There are also general works (to be carried out in the office) and it is not uncommon. Buhari has used the residential office for many years.

“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 it will be done”,Shehu said.

Buhari receives a report from Vice President Osinbajo  (Facebook/Sahara Reporters)

The spokesperson’s comments immediately drew the presidency plenty of flak and backlash from Nigerians who viewed the Rodent angle as comical and embarrassing.

However, a top ranking aide of the president who craved anonymity for this story, said the Rodent slant was absolutely necessary at the time.

“Garba Shehu said it because people wanted to know why Buhari is working from home. If we didn’t offer an explanation, people would have misinterpreted  the silence to mean Buhari is not physically fit given his recent health struggles. They would have said he’s still ill and that’s why he’s working from home.

“Shehu was under pressure to offer an explanation and we didn’t want an information vacuum. He didn’t know what else to say, so we went for the truth.”

The aide told Pulse that the Rodent explanation was the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Buhari holds meeting with leaders of political parties  (Twitter/@MBuhari)

According to the aide, Buhari always demands that his staff hand out the truth to the public at all times, no matter the circumstances, hence the Rat explanation.

“President Buhari always asks us to tell the truth”, the official explained. “He would say ‘don’t lie to Nigerians, tell Nigerians the truth. The day you lie to Nigerians, that is the day you go’. I’m telling you. That’s what he tells us. He doesn’t joke about these things. He goes: ‘you must tell the truth always’. So, if people find truth hard to swallow this time, we offer no apologies”.

The aide also said the office of the Nigerian president won’t be the first to play host to Rodents.

“It happened in America. We always make reference to America. It happens everywhere. Even in the UK, there are rats, cockroaches in government offices.

Jimmy Carter had to contend with Mice.George Bush dealt with Mice. Even duringBarack Obama’s era, the whole place was overtaken by cockroaches. So, these things happen”.

Rats and cockroaches allegedly invaded the oval office  (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

The presidency official however conceded that the president’s office could have been rid of the Rodents in time for his return.

“My only problem is that we should have sorted this out while the president was away. We should have sorted this out earlier”.

The aide also said there was no need for the uproar from Nigerians because the president’s home office is only a minute away from his official space.

“The distance between the president’s home office and his official office is less than a minute’s walk. That is what people don’t know. Both offices are in the same area.

“So, if the president doesn’t go to his official office, he goes to the home one which is a stone-throw away. It has nothing to do with his fitness or lack of it, at this time. This has nothing to do with telling Nigerians a lie or covering up anything. We only gave out the truth”, offered the aide.

President Buhari has signed bilateral agreements and has held meetings with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and army chiefs from his home office address, since his return.

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