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32,000 sign petition to reinstate Nigeria to list of countries with religious freedom violators

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More than 32,000 people have signed to petition the U.S. to reinstate Nigeria on the list of countries with religious freedom violators.

The U.S. had in 2020 placed Nigeria and six other countries on its special watch list of states that engage in or tolerate violation of religious freedom.

In 2021, Nigeria was, however, removed  from the list of countries so designated for religious violations, Persecondnews recalls.

Cases of religious intolerance include that of Deborah Samuel who was killed and roasted in Sokoto for blasphemy by her classmates in May 2022 after which  32,000 signed a petition to reinstate Nigeria on the list of religious freedom violators.

Kelsey Zorzi, the Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom for ADF International, a legal non-profit organization dedicated to defending religious freedom, said the U.S. must “maintain pressure on Nigeria.”

“Removing Nigeria from the Country of Particular Concern list signaled an alarming disregard for the state of religious freedom in the country,” Zorzi said.

The rise of groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has necessitated a petition signed by 32, 000 person which was delivered to the White House on Friday, calling on the U.S. Government to reinstate Nigeria to its black list.

The Anambra-based International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), a civil society group headed by a Christian criminologist, estimates that at least 4,000 Christians have been killed and 2,300 abducted in the first 10 months of 2022.

“It is time to stand against this violence and add Nigeria back to the Countries of Particular Concern list immediately,” the petition reads.

“In the months of January 2021 to March 2022, over 6,000 Christians have been martyred in Nigeria, and approximately 4,500 Christians have been abducted in the same time frame.

“Millions of Christians throughout the country, but especially in the North, live in fear that they might be next.”

With the abduction, murder of Christians getting to a crescendo level, the council on foreign relations estimates that 1,112 deaths were from violence among ethnic groups, herdsmen and farmers, some of which had implications of religion and religious freedom.

 

 

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