The United States has placed Nigeria for the first time on a religious freedom blacklist, citing growing insecurity and suppression of Christian voice.
This however has attracted the ire of Nigeria, who described the allegations as faulty.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a series of Tweet on Monday, said that Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious freedom, the rare inclusion of a fellow democracy in the US effort to shame nations into action.
The tweets said, “Today the U.S. designates Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for engaging systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations.
“The U.S. is unwavering in its commitment to religious freedom. No country or entity should be allowed to persecute people with impunity because of their beliefs. These annual designations show that when religious freedom is attacked, we will act.”
But in an angry reaction, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement, faulted the allegations
Mohammed in statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by his Special Assistant To The President (Media)Segun Adeyemi, explained that the allegation, by the United States of engaging in systematic and egregious religious freedom violations was a jaundiced conclusion.
Mohammed described the allegation as “a case of an honest disagreement between the two nations on the causes of violence in Nigeria”.
He said that Nigeria does not engage in religious freedom violation, neither does it have a policy of religious persecution, stressing that victims of insecurity and terrorism in the country are adherents of Christianity, Islam and other religions.