The International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) and its partner Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) has refute the claims by Nigerian embassy in Washington DC on the jaw-dropping reports of terrorism across Nigeria’s north, as reported by a “truth squad” brought to the United States
In a press statement dated July 3, 2019 and signed by Stephen Enada, Executive Director of ICON and made available to journalists which reported that the embassy faulted Washington’s Heritage Foundation for giving a platform to five living witnesses to Nigerian genocide:
The attention of the Embassy of Nigeria, Washington, D.C., has been drawn to an event your Foundation hosted on June 11, 2019, where you brought alleged Nigerian victims of violence and insecurity: Rebecca Sharibu, mother of Leah Sharibu; Alheri Bawa Magaji and Napoleon Adamu, who gave false and uncorroborated allegations about their experiences,” according to Nigeria’s Premium Times.
Nigerian Christian leaders on Tuesday doubled down the witness testimony at Heritage and called the embassy statement, which cited no sources to undermine the witnesses, “an insult.” he stated
“The Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 Northern States and Abuja (Northern CAN), has condemned statements by the Nigerian embassy in Washington D.C, United State, accusing the Mrs.Rebecca Sharibu, mother of Leah Sharibu and three others for making ‘false’ claims against the federal government.”
An official of Northern CAN described the embassy statement as “insensitive, inhuman and irresponsible,” and urged the federal government to “sanction the embassy staff who made the statement and apologize to the Rebecca Sharibu and others for saying their painful experiences were false.”
American Nigerian activists also were shocked. “The thoughtlessness of the person who penned the statement on the behalf of the embassy of Nigeria is alarming,” according to Diaspora leader Magna faith Krimi of Silver Springs, MD.
“The statement put forward by the Nigeria Embassy is thoughtless and rude. I am appalled at the manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the witnesses who graciously and courageously told their stories,” she said.
For weeks, ICON and its partner, STPC, hosted a “Nigeria Crisis Delegation” that visited officials in the White House, Members of Congress, religious freedom agencies, major broadcasters, Nigerian mega-churches, and leaders of the Nigerian diaspora.
At every stop Americans heard the wrenching testimony of Leah Sharibu’s mother, Rebecca, and other witnesses to mass killings that seemed to target Nigerian Christians.
Vice President Mike Pence called for a meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, last Wednesday, according to ICON co-founder Kyle Abts.
“According to my sources, the Vice President conveyed his concerns about the threats to religious freedom in Nigeria, and the case of Leah Sharibu in particular, and warned that the alliance with Nigeria would require signs of improvement in the area of protecting rights of minorities,” Abts said.
“The battle for the attention of America’s leaders may have turned a corner last week. The goal of ICON and STPC, to hold bad actors accountable for the damage they allow to hapless citizens of Nigeria, may be nearer,” according to Mr. Enada.