*Says group spending $85,000 monthly on campaign against Nigeria
By Omololu Ogunmade
The presidency at the weekend accused the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) of spending $85,000 every month to lead a campaign aimed at persuading the United States and the United Kingdom to believing that genocide against Christians is ongoing in Nigeria.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, while dismissing the content of the campaign as false, alleged that the move involves the use of published articles in collaboration with some Christian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and a US lobbying firm which he said had been sending letters to the US congress on the genocide claim.
Shehu described as unfortunate, the decision of the US congress to yield to the persuasion that Christians were indeed being persecuted in Nigeria and had consequently been lobbying the White House to appoint a special envoy to Nigeria on the matter.
He therefore urged both Nigerians and the international community not to buy into the campaign, describing it as divisive.
“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,” he said.