Religious freedom violence: why we blacklisted Nigeria – U.S
NEWSMAN – United States of America (U.S.A) has given its reasons for blacklisting Nigeria for alleged violations of religious freedom.
It said this was the result of widening terrorism with little or no government response.
U.S Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel Brownback, said Nigeria had been “tolerating egregious acts taking place in that nation”.
It was reported that the U.S designated Nigeria as a “country of particular concern” after years of placing Nigeria under a watch list for allegedly enabling violations of religious rights, The Nation reported.
This came after the U.S initially expressed concerns over the high rate of religious intolerance in various parts of Nigeria, following acts often perpetrated by state actors.
But the Federal Government rejected the tag, arguing that it “protects religious freedom jealously”.
Speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday, Brownback said the U.S was seeing “a lot of religious-tinged violence taking place”.
“The Secretary and, really, the world, has great concern about what’s taking place in Nigeria at this time. A number of terrorist groups are organising and pushing into the country, he said.
“We’re seeing a lot of religious-tinged violence taking place in that country and indeed in West Africa. It’s an area of growing concern about what’s happening, in particular the tension that’s taking place there between religious groups. And it’s often the religious affiliation that is used to try to recruit and inspire violent acts”.
The ambassador added that a major concern for the U.S regarding Nigeria is “the lack of adequate government response in Nigeria”.
“You’ve got expanded terrorist activities; you’ve got a lot of them associated around religious affiliations. The government’s response has been minimal to not happening at all.
“A number of cases – there have not been criminal cases brought forward by the government. The terrorism continues to happen and grow, in some places unabated,” he said.