Advocacy groups are refuting a statement released Sunday by the Nigerian presidency contending that international rights groups who say there is ongoing “genocide” against Christians in Nigeria received funding from a separatist organization.
Garba Shehu, a spokesperson for Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, accused the Indigenous People of Biafra of spending $85,000 per month to fund an international smear campaign through nongovernmental organizations and media outlets in the United States and Europe.
“This statement from Buhari’s officials is to distract from their own incompetence or collusion with the perpetrators of genocide on the Christian communities in the North and Middlebelt parts of Nigeria,” said Ann Buwalda, president of Jubilee Campaign USA, which advocates for ethnic and religious minorities.
The Nigerian government has been facing increased international pressure to protect its citizens as thousands have reportedly been killed in recent years by Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram in the northeast or ethnic herdsmen radicals who have launched several attacks on sleeping farming communities in the Middle Belt.
Shehu claimed that organizations and lawmakers in both the U.S. and Europe are being duped by the IPOB into thinking that the government is implicit in the killing of Christians. He argued that IPOB is trying to drive a wedge between Nigeria and Western allies.
A “very deep and wide investigation by an agency of the Nigerian government” working with international partners has found that there are “two interconnected campaigns” being run by IPOB, Shehu said.
“Both are using the cover of Christianity — and calling for a U.S. Special Envoy to be appointed to stop the ‘genocide’ of Christians in Nigeria.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith