CLAIM: UK report indict Buhari over the killings of Christians
FALSE: Textbook disinformation! The story took elements of the actual report out-of-context and inferred unverifiable claims.
A post by Ecocitytvnews titled “Killing Of Christians: UK Report Indicts President Buhari” surfaced on July 12, 2019. The post referencing a report by Rt. Rev. Philip Mounstephen remarked on the “unwarranted killings of unarmed Christians by Fulani herdsmen.” The post also claimed that the report remarked on the non-challant attitude of the president and his current administration.
The report as stated above says Nigeria has risen through the ranks of countries with the worst record of persecution against Christians. The report named North-Eastern Nigeria (Boko Haram) and Fulani herdsmen as the perpetrators of these acts.
Dubawa obtained the UK report that is publicly available online with the title ‘‘Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO(Foreign and Commonwealth Office) Support for Persecuted Christians Final Report and Recommendations.
After analysing the report, a lot of inconsistencies were found. Firstly, as stated by the post, the referenced report conducted investigations in several countries including Syria, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, Iraq, the Philippines and Nigeria. But, contrary to its claim, the report does not focus “its examination of the killings in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen along the Middle Belt regions of the country.” Rather, an in depth analysis and case study was conducted on the aforementioned countries above; with the quote above only serving as a case study for the Nigerian context. It was not the primary focus of the report as the post claims.
More so, the report did not accuse the president and the present government in any way. It only remarked on the political reaction to the altercations; contrary to the post which asserts not only this claim but alleges the discomfort faced by the Nigerian president and his administration by the report.
A quote from the report reads: ‘‘The Government of Nigeria immediately responded to the attack by publicly acknowledging its significance…”, further referencing the president’s tweets: “Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers, is not only vile, evil and satanic: it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting.”
Also, the report remarked on the state of unrest and dissatisfaction by some of the church leaders in Nigeria. According to the report, they accused the government of inaction. Further adding that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria issued a statement “calling on President [Buhari] to ‘consider stepping aside’ accusing the government of security failures.
Finally, the report only gave recommendations, structures, and strategies, on how the issue should be handled. It never blamed the Nigerian Government or the President, neither did it accuse them of negligence in any way.
Textbook disinformation! The story took elements of the actual report out-of-context and inferred unverifiable claims. This assuages to motivated reasoning which aims to propel the available heuristic on the ongoing political and religious rhetoric.