Nigeria has no policy that violates religious freedom, FG tells US senators

Written by on July 5, 2022

ABUJA—The Federal Government has condemned the call by five US senators for re-designation of Nigeria as a country of particular concern, CPC, over alleged violation of religious freedom.

It would be recalled that last month, the five US senators asked Antony Blinken, US secretary of State, to re-designate Nigeria as a country of particular concern, citing the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, and the lynching of Deborah Samuel, a female student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, as cases of religious persecutions in Nigeria.

The US government had in December 2020, listed Nigeria among countries blacklisted for “violating religious freedom” under the CPC designation but Nigeria was removed from the list a year later, in November 2021.

But responding to the allegation in an interview with newsmen yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the call was based on false premise and misunderstanding of what was going on in the country.

Mohammed said the constitution of Nigeria guaranteed the right of anyone to practice his/her own faith without molestation, adding that the government had always guarded the constitutional provision jealously.

He said commentators who were not well-versed in the politics and happenings in Nigeria took criminalities and communal clashes as issues of religious persecution.

According to him, the only known group that targets Christians is the Islamic State in West Africa Province, ISWAP.

He said the Federal Government had mounted large-scale military operations to wipe out the criminals which, according to him, is yielding results.

He said some NGOs were feeding the international community with wrong information to get funds from donors and solicited support from multilateral organisations and foreign countries in tackling the insecurity in Nigeria.

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