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‘Threats to religious freedom in Nigeria still persist,’ CAN tells US



The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Saturday questioned the United States’ removal of Nigeria from the religious concern list.

Washington had on Wednesday removed Nigeria from the list of religious freedom violators.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration placed Nigeria on the list in 2020 for engaging or tolerating “severe violations of religious freedom.”

However, in a statement signed by its President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, CAN asked the US to disclose the statistics it relied on before taking the decision to remove Nigeria from the list of religious freedom violators.

The Christian body noted that the US decision was at variance with the reality on ground and challenged President Joe Biden’s administration to provide more information in order to clear the doubts on the matter.

The statement read: “The US government did not contact us when they were listing Nigeria among the countries of ‘Particular Concern’ on religious freedom, neither did they seek our opinion before removing Nigeria from the list.

READ ALSO: US removes Nigeria from religious freedom violators’ list

“If they had done, we would have been able to compare the statistics, then and now on the issue of freedom of religion in Nigeria.

“All right-thinking people would continue to ask the US government to let the world know what has changed on the issue of religious freedom and persecution the Christians are facing between the time they placed the country in the list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ and now.

“CAN in particular will like to know. This is because all the factors that put Nigeria on the CPC list for the first time in 2020 are still there.

“Let me conclude by saying that we are trying to bring some of the issues of religious persecution or discrimination up at our Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, meeting so as to douse religious tension and foster harmonious relationship between religious adherents in Nigeria.

“Please, be praying for us for success along this line.”

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