United States President, Donald Trump, has appointed Richard Grenell, the current Ambassador to Germany, as the Acting Director of National Intelligence.
This may be an indication of a probable US-Nigeria face-off, as Grenell never hid his dislike for President Muhammadu Buhari, during the 2015 general elections.
Ahead of the 2015 elections, Grenell wrote an article titled: “Nigeria On The Brink”.
In the analysis published on Washington Times, he warned Nigerians against electing General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.), of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as President.
The Envoy, pointedly accused Buhari of being a bigot, who had alleged sympathy for rampaging insurgents responsible for destruction of several lives, properties, and government infrastructure, in the country
Grenell had said: “Mr. Buhari has spoken sympathetically about members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, has cautioned against a rush to judgement on its members, and has been personally selected by the terrorists group, to lead its negotiations with the government of Nigeria.
“Mr. Buhari’s election as Nigeria’s Head of State would be a disaster for Africa. It would also signal trouble for the West’s fight against ISIS and terrorism throughout the Middle East.”
It is however, unclear if Grenell still holds the same view about the Leader of Africa’s most populous country.
However, the Trump administration has never hidden its concern about the insecurity in Nigeria, terrorists acts, murder of civilians, lack of criminals database, among others.
In less than one year, the US has slammed four actions against Nigeria, and top of the reasons provided was security.
In December 2019, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, stated that there is a high level of religious intolerance under the Buhari government.
The US listed Nigeria among “Special Watch List” countries that engage in “violations of religious freedom”.
During Buhari’s visit to the White House, Trump and Pompeo condemned the persecution and killing of Christians, especially in Northern Nigeria.
On March 22, 2015, the ruling APC blasted the new US Intelligence Chief, in a strong worded statement, and linked him to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The APC called Grenell “a one-time US Ambassadorial-Aide-turned-Media Manager”, who implied that the then APC Presidential Candidate, Buhari, “is an Islamic fundamentalist prone to terrorist leanings, and therefore, should not be elected on March 28”.
Garba Shehu, who was the APC Presidential Campaign Media Director, at the time, described the “provocative advertisement as the handiwork of a failed President, Goodluck Jonathan, and his ruinous party, the PDP, to tarnish the hard won credibility and integrity of Buhari”.
Shehu labelled the party as a troubled-cannon, firing salvos in all directions, accidentally and incidentally, without caution, care, or conscience.Hide original message
He noted that, “with the stark reality of defeat staring them in the face, on March 28 and April 11, 2015, a reward for their maladministration, Jonathan and his co-travellers, have intensified their global campaign of calumny and outright fallacy, their well-known stock in trade”.
Shehu wondered how Grenfell, “a former Media Aide to US Ambassadors to the United Nations, suddenly got adorned in the garb of an emissary or envoy by the PDP.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Richard Grenell is not a US ex-Envoy, but a former Spokesperson for four past US Ambassadors to the United Nations. In 2009, Richard Grenell launched Capitol Media Partners, an international strategic media and public affairs consultancy.
“His Agency provides strategic counsel for companies and individuals (like Jonathan and the PDP), facing critical media and public policy challenges. Mr. Grenell’s firm, “Capitol Media Partners”, was recruited by the Presidency and the PDP, to say those unfortunate statements about General Buhari.”
Shehu had insisted that Richard Grenell made those statements not as an Envoy or Diplomat, but “as a Media Contractor for the Presidency and the PDP”.