FG accuses Nigerians in diaspora of financing secessionists, spreading fake news

The Federal Government has accused some Nigerians in the diaspora of financing the secessionist activities of separatist groups in the country and spreading fake news.

This is as the government has condemned the activities of Nigerians in the diaspora who identify with secessionist groups that are campaigning around the world, who see them as allies to propagate their fake news about the country.

This allegation was made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday in Abuja, at a meeting with the members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO), UK Chapter as part of the activities marking the initiative tagged ‘A Week in and for Nigeria.’

Mohammed said he was worried and disappointed that some members of the diaspora are relying on platforms that peddle fake news and misinformation about the country.

“It is in recognition of the relevance of Nigerians in diaspora that the secessionist groups that are campaigning around the world for their causes have identified and are effectively using some of them (Nigerians in diaspora) to propagate their fake narratives about the country, in addition to relying on their financial contributions to fund their nefarious activities. This is disheartening,’’ he said.

He appealed to the diaspora organisation to shun those who are bent on painting the country in a bad light in the comity of nations.

The Minister said, “Instead of contributing their own quota to these efforts, all you hear from a section of Nigerians in diaspora and their allies back home are fake narratives and untrue allegations of religious persecution, political marginalisation, human rights abuses, etc. These are baseless and false.

As an organised and well-connected group, I implore NIDO to leverage its contacts in government circles, parliamentary groups and global think tanks in world capitals to help change the narrative and sweep the carpet off the feet of secessionist groups, insurgents and anarchists who are bent on pushing false narratives to portray Nigeria in bad light.

“I have no doubt that you will take this call seriously and do everything in your power to change the narrative for the better.’’

He explained that the federal government has intensified efforts at re-engineering and ramping up its diplomatic efforts to counter and reverse these negative narratives, in addition to countering pervasive anti-government propaganda.

He also said that the Buhari administration created the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), which is coordinating and providing an organised system of collaborations of Nigerians in diaspora, due to its consideration of Nigerians in Diaspora as critical stakeholders.

He also cited the unavoidable division among Nigerians in diaspora in some countries as a factor that hampers such engagements.