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Garba Shehu: Nigeria was listed as ‘religious freedom violator’ after IPOB paid lobbyists to spread lies

Garba Shehu: Nigeria was listed as ‘religious freedom violator’ after IPOB paid lobbyists to spread lies
November 19
19:04 2021

Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, says the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) paid American lobbyists to “spread falsehood” about Nigeria.

In an opinion article published on Friday, Shehu said Nigeria was listed among countries that violate religious freedom by the United States in December 2020, after IPOB funded a “misleading” campaign.

Nigeria was removed from the list of countries blacklisted for “engaging in violation of religious freedom” on Wednesday.

“Since Nigeria was included in December 2020, in the aftermath of the Donald Trump’s election loss, it has taken only 11 months for this decision to be reversed under the Biden administration,” Shehu wrote.

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“This sad and uncalled-for ban came on the heels of 12 months of lies by some extremist groups and the banned terrorist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB’s well-funded international media campaign.

“Nigeria should never have been on the list. It was included after paid right-wing American lobbyists were funded millions of dollars by IPOB to spread falsehoods and misinformation about Nigeria. Those who willingly took money from terrorists spread falsehoods against a democratically elected government. They took advantage of well-meaning, God-fearing Americans to whom they spread their lies.

“Their aim was to drive a wedge, for political advantage, between the two great religions and by doing so, make true their fake claims that Muslims and Christians cannot live side-by-side in love and peace. They did not care if their maliciousness was the cause of religious tension.

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“In fact, it is possible they sought to encourage it to prove their point. Yet, despite all the funds at their disposal, they only convinced for a brief time those who had been voted out of office by US citizens to add Nigeria to the list.”

Shehu added that it is a “fallacy” to suggest Nigeria lacks religious freedom, adding that friends of President Muhammadu Buhari cut across religious affiliations.

He said with the recent development on the list of “religious freedom violators”, Nigeria and the US will now maintain strong bilateral ties to seek resolution to other critical matters – including the fight against insurgency.

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