The federal government has accused the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of using false claims to deceive the United States and the United Kingdom.
According to government, IPOB is using the cover of Christianity to call for a US special envoy to be appointed to stop the “genocide” of Christians in Nigeria.
In a statement on Sunday, Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said what IPOB is doing is to cause disagreement between the Nigerian government and its US and UK/European allies.
The presidency said Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the IPOB claims to be a Jewish but the position is not shared by the generality of the members.
“For reasons of convenience, he claims to have an interest in the welfare of Christians – but this is a ruse: the case for independence, the leader believes, is strengthened by ‘proving’ the government of Nigeria is ‘autocratic’, engaged in a ‘silent slaughter’ of their own citizens along religion and ethnic lines – and that therefore the only viable option for the unique religious and ethnic minority is a sovereign Biafra separate from Nigeria,” the statement read.
“Nigerians and the international community are advised to be wary of this divisive campaign, which available evidence shows is being funded with a monthly spending of $85,000 USD since October 2019, with no records of the source of this largesse.
“The campaign consists of producing articles in the names of the alleged Christian NGOs’ leaders (of campaign groups created at the time this PR contract with a US lobbying firm was signed) and letters to and from members of Congress to the White House.
“Unfortunately, some members of congress have clearly been persuaded there is indeed a “Christian persecution” underway in Nigeria – and do so quoting the campaign – and they are known to be taking up the case directly with the White House to appoint the special envoy.
“The American charity secured a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and has made presentations to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“There is also a UK and European angle of the Campaign, which is more opaque than its US sister campaign – given there is less legal requirement for public filings – but what is known of this at the moment is that their budget is sufficient to hire four PR firms in the UK, Belgium, France and the US.”
The presidency said IPOB has founded a Christian non-governmental organisation (NGO) and a linked web-based campaign named “Stop the Silent Slaughter” which is designed and complete with video “evidence” completely concocted.
The federal government also said IPOB secured a debate on the “Christian genocide” in the house of commons.
“It is clear from all of the above that the IPOB’s extraordinarily and dubiously well-funded campaign in the US and UK/Europe is misusing the issue of the welfare of Christians purely to further their own political ends, and it seeks to damage inter-religious dialogue in Nigeria as well as to damage the international reputation of Nigeria,” the statement further read.
“International groups and societies are welcome to send representatives to Nigeria and give a lie to the false claims made by these terrorist groups who are duping them of their money and involving them in conduct and activities disguised to destroy the harmonious relationships existing between their home countries and Nigeria.”