Nigeria has denied the allegation by the United States of engaging in systematic and egregious religious freedom violations.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the allegation as a case of honest disagreement between the two nations on the causes of violence in Nigeria.
“Nigeria does not engage in religious freedom violation, neither does it have a policy of religious persecution.
“Victims of insecurity and terrorism in the country are adherents of Christianity, Islam and other religions,” he said in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant on Media and emailed to Persecondnews.
He said Nigeria “jealously protects religious freedom as enshrined in the country’s constitution and takes seriously any infringements in this regard.’’
Persecondnews recalls that the outgoing Trump administration had added Nigeria to a list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom, opening up the African nation to punitive measures.
The State Department designated Nigeria for the first time as a Country of Particular Concern on Monday under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing egregious violations of religious freedom.”
Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were all re-designated as CPCs, the statement department said.
Nations designated as a CPC become punishable by U.S. sanctions, including the suspension of foreign aid, trade restrictions or loan prohibitions though the law allows the executive branch the power to determine which if any restrictions to apply.