The United States government has explained why it added Nigeria to its list of violators of religious freedom.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated the US ally as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious freedom, alongside nations that include China, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Pompeo did not elaborate on the reasons for including Nigeria, which has a delicate balance between Muslims and Christians, at that time.
But US law requires such designations for nations that either engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.”
U.S Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel Brownback has now said the decision was taken because ‘a number of terrorist groups are organising and pushing into the country, and the government’s response to terrorist activities has been minimal.”
Brownback added that a lot of ”religious-tinged violence” are taking place in the country which is of great concern to the world.
“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.
“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.