The presidency has said that some Nigerians abroad, particularly those based in the US, are spreading falsehood and misinformation about how things are going in Nigeria.
The presidency, via spokesman Femi Adesina, claimed that this was why the US placed Nigeria on the 2020 religious violators list. The US later discovered that the inclusion was a mistake and promptly removed Nigeria from the list.
Mr Adesina said this on Monday during an interview with Channels Television while reacting to the recent decision of the United States government to remove Nigeria from the list.
“Nigeria being taken off the watchlist of countries that repress religion,” said Adesina. “Very good, the Secretary [Antony Blinken] spoke about it. He said America did it when they found out that putting Nigeria on the watchlist was not based on facts and we know the things that happened; Nigerians themselves going to America, going to feed them with incorrect positions about what is happening in the country.
The list from which Nigeria was removed contains countries that are “engaged in or tolerate ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom’”. Included in the list are Russia, China and eight other countries.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has, however, criticised Nigeria’s removal from the list. CAN President Samson Ayokunle asked Saturday which statistics the US government were using as a basis to delist Nigeria.