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IPOB paid millions of dollars to US lobbyists to spread falsehood about Nigeria —Presidency

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The Presidency said on Friday it had evidence on good authority that the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) paid millions of dollars to US lobbyists to spread falsehoods about Nigeria and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

This allegation was contained in a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, while reacting to the removal of Nigeria from a US religious blacklist.

Shehu said part of the reason Nigeria was put in the list in the first place was the propaganda allegedly orchestrated by IPOB and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

“The removal of Nigeria from the religious violators watchlist by the Biden-led US administration in the run-up to the visit of Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State is a triumph of diplomacy and sagacity over hate-driven foreign policy, itself founded on false propaganda.

“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.

Read also: IPOB alleges plot to ‘eliminate’ Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody

“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.

“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 Independent People of Biafra, IPOB’s well-funded international media campaign.

“It is a fallacy to suggest Nigeria lacks religious freedom.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is truly satisfied with the decision by the United States to remove Nigeria from that unwanted list of countries. Blinken said the decision of the Joe Biden Government on this was based on facts,” Shehu said.

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