Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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HomeNewsRelist Nigeria As Violator Of Religious Freedom — US Senators To Biden

Relist Nigeria As Violator Of Religious Freedom — US Senators To Biden

The United States of America Senators, Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley have written to President Joe Biden to relist Nigeria as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ over increasing cases of violence against Christians in the country.

The letter written by the two US Republican lawmakers was signed by another three senators, Mike Braun, Tom Cotton and Jim Inhofe.

In the letter to the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, the senators urged President Biden to immediately reinstate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act.

There has been a recent surge in violent attacks and killings of Nigerian Christians by their Muslim counterparts over alleged blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad and other allegations in Nigeria, especially in the Northern regions.

There have been a series of abductions and killings of Christian clerics in the country. There were also recent attacks on Catholic churches in Owo, Ondo State in the Southern region and Kaduna State in the Northern region, where no fewer than 50 worshippers were killed and dozens injured.

The US lawmakers noted that religious violence is still high in Nigeria which had been earlier put on the list of the countries of particular concern with regards to religious violence by President Donald Trump’s administration but was delisted by the current Biden administration.

The letter which was also published on Senator Rubio’s official website reads, “As you are well aware, horrific acts of deadly violence have been committed against Nigerian Christians in recent weeks, including the massacre of churchgoers on Pentecost Sunday and the stoning of a Christian college student. Sadly, such violence has become all too familiar for Christians in Africa’s most populous country.

“Last year, however, you inexplicably removed Nigeria’s designation as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) despite no demonstrable improvement in the country’s religious freedom conditions. On the contrary, the situation in Nigeria has grown worse. We previously urged you to immediately reverse your misguided decision, and we write today to renew our call.

“Recent high-profile acts of violence underscore the intense religious persecution that is regularly experienced by Nigerian Christians. On Pentecost Sunday, gunmen attacked St. Francis Catholic Church in Nigeria’s Ondo state, reportedly killing at least 50 churchgoers.

Last month, a violent mob brutally stoned to death Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in northwest Nigeria. According to reports, some Islamist students were enraged by a “blasphemous” message Deborah had posted in a WhatsApp group, in which she said that “Jesus Christ is the greatest. He helped me pass my exams.” Merely expressing one’s Christian faith has apparently become tantamount to a death sentence in many parts of Nigeria.

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