IPOB’s propaganda reason Nigeria was included in religious violators’ watchlist: Presidency

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The presidency says the propaganda of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) was the reason the country was listed among states violating religious freedom.

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the claim in a Friday article he posted on Facebook.

The Joe Biden administration in a revised list delisted Nigeria from countries violating religious freedom on Wednesday.

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Mr Shehu said the misleading campaign of the secessionist group enabled the outgoing administration of former president Donald Trump to blacklist the most populous country in Africa.

He argued that his principal does not lack religious tolerance as insinuated in some quarters because the president has friends across various faiths.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

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