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Biden Administration Slammed for Removing Nigeria from Religious Persecution List

Posted by on November 26, 2021 — Drop A Comment


Religious liberty watchdogs are criticizing the Biden administration for removing Nigeria from an annual list of religious freedom violators, charging that it denies reality and is motivated solely by foreign policy interests.
At issue is an annual list released by the State
Department that examines the status of religious freedom in every country in the world and designates the worst violators as a “Country of Particular Concern,” which means they are guilty of “particularly severe violations of religious
freedom.”
Nigeria was considered a Country of Particular
Concern (CPC) in the State Department reports of 2020 and 2019 .
Yet Nigeria was missing in the State Department’s 2021 report, which was released last week.
The annual report is required under a 1998 law.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan panel that makes recommendations to the State Department, had urged since 2009 the inclusion of Nigeria as a CPC.
Christian groups and religious liberty watchdogs criticized the exclusion of Nigeria, saying thousands of Christians have been killed while the country’s security forces have refused to protect them.
“Removing this largely symbolic sign of concern
is a brazen denial of reality and indicates that the
U.S. intends to pursue its interests in western
Africa through an alliance with Nigeria’s security
elite, at the expense of Christians and other
victims of widespread sectarian violence,
especially in the country’s predominantly Christian
Middle Belt region,” said John Eibner, president of
Christian Solidarity International (CSI).
Critics noted that the report was released shortly
before Blinken visited Nigeria.
CSI said Boko Haram and Fulani jihadist militias
have killed thousands of Christians, including 31
who were slaughtered on September 26. Millions
have been displaced, CSI said. Christians, CSI
noted, are “under attack.”
Eibner wrote Secretary of State Antony Blinken on
November 17, asserting that Nigerian President
Muhammadu Buhari is “unable or unwilling to
fulfill its most basic responsibility – the provision
of security for its citizens against violence.”
Further, Eibner noted that Nigerian security forces
detained journalist Luka Binniyat after he
criticized the government on the issue of religious
liberty.
Jeff King, president of International Christian
Concern , said he is “troubled by Nigeria’s
omission as a CPC.”
“The Nigerian government has done almost
nothing to stop the violence against Nigerian
Christians, leading to continued violent
persecution,” King said.
This year’s CPC list included Burma, China,
Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi
Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.


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