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US senators want Nigeria restored to religious violators’ list

Some United States senators have written to the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to redesignate Nigeria as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ over alleged increasing cases of religious violence in the West African country.

The PUNCH reports that the US had on November 17, 2021, removed Nigeria from its list of religious violators, even as it blacklisted Russia, China and eight other countries “as Countries of Particular Concern for having engaged in or tolerated ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

The US had in 2020 placed Nigeria and six other countries on its special watch list of states that had engaged in or tolerated the severe violation of religious freedom.

But in a letter written by Senators Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley, and signed by three other Senators; Mike Braun, Tom Cotton and Jim Inhofe, the lawmakers said given the state of religious freedom in Nigeria, the country must be immediately returned to the list.

In the letter dated June 30, 2022, which was addressed to Blinken, the senators urged the government to immediately redesignate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.

According to them, the letter follows recent acts of violence targeting Nigerian Christians that have underscored the deteriorating state of religious freedom in the country.


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