- The presidency has expressed satisfaction over the recent removal of Nigeria from the US religious violators watchlist
- According to presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, IPOB paid American lobbyists to “spread falsehood” about Nigeria
- Shehu speaking at an event on Friday, November 26, maintained that Nigeria should not have been on the list of religious freedom violators
Katsina - The senior special assistant, media, and publicity to the president, Mallam Garba Shehu has alleged that the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) sponsored the listing of Nigeria amongst countries that suppress religious freedom by the United States.
Daily Trust reports that the presidential spokesman made the allegation on Friday, November 26, while presenting a paper at the Federal University Dutsin-Ma (FUDMA), in Katsina state.
According to him, Nigeria was added to the violators list after IPOB paid right-wing American lobbyists millions of dollars to spread falsehoods and misinformation about the country.
Shehu noted that this move was to make their fake claims insinuating Muslims and Christians cannot live side-by-side in love and peace, The Cable added.
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He went on to note that the country should never have been on the list, adding that the aim of the outlawed group was to drive a wedge, for political advantage, between the two great religions.
The presidential spokesman also alleged that IPOB took advantage of well meaning, God-fearing Americans to spread their lies.
“Just recently, the US-Biden administration removed Nigeria from the list of countries under scrutiny for alleged violations of religious freedom.
“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's fate decided as US releases full list of nations violating religious freedom
Earlier, the President Joe Biden-led government in the United States (US) on Wednesday, November 17, restated its full support for religious tolerance as it fights against the violation of human rights to worship across the world.
This commitment on the part of the US government was made known by its secretary of state, Antony Blinken, who was scheduled to visit Nigeria soon.
Blinken in his statement said that Nigeria had been removed from the list of nations infamous for violating the religious freedom of citizens and foreigners.
We're disappointed: US agency slams Blinken for removing Nigeria from religious freedom violators' list
Meanwhile, the removal of Nigeria from the list of religious freedom violators across the world has been opposed by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
According to the USCIRF, the Department of State did not follow its recommendation to designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) but went ahead to tag it merely as a nation with no severe religious freedom violations,
USCIRF's head, Nadine Maenza, in a statement on Wednesday, November 17, said the agency is disappointed with the decision of the US government.