The U.S. Government has added Nigeria to a blacklist of countries that have committed or tolerated “serious violations of religious liberty”.
Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were also added to the list. Nigeria’s inclusion in the list of religious violations was announced by United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Twitter.
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He said, “Upholding the right to religious freedom is a moral and national security imperative. Where there is an absence of religious freedom, terrorism and violence escalate. Our defense of religious communities abroad contributes to the protection and prosperity of Americans in this country.
“Today the US designates Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for engaging systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations.
“The US is unwavering in its commitment to religious freedom. No country or entity should be allowed to persecute people with impunity because of their beliefs. These annual designations show that when religious freedom is attacked, we will act.”
This development comes a year after the US administration placed Nigeria on a special watch list.