Nigerian pro-democracy group, National Democratic Coalition United States of America (NADECO USA), has called on US President, Joe Biden, to place Nigeria on the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) with respect to the persecution and killing of Christians.
CPC, according to Wikipedia, is a designation by the US Secretary of State (under authority delegated by the President) of a country responsible for particularly severe violations of religious freedom under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 (H.R. 2431) and its amendment of 1999 (Public Law 106-55).
The Nigerian group, based in Washington DC., made the call in an open letter to the US President protesting the Christmas eve killing of Christians in Plateau State, and urging Mr. Biden “to take all the necessary action to stop the further killing of Christians in Nigeria.”
The letter, endorsed by Lloyd Ukwu, its Executive Director, said the group “is troubled by the level of religious persecution going on in Nigeria as evidenced by the Christmas Day Massacre in Plateau State Nigeria.” They also decried what they described as the seeming nonchalant attitude of the US President to the crisis.
“Your policy of looking the other way while Christians are slaughtered in Nigeria is a dangerous precedent and a double standard of the highest magnitude such that Nigerians are at a loss as to why the US is abandoning its long history of defending the defenseless. It is obvious that the Biden administration, your administration is not interested in religious freedom any longer,” the group alleged.
NADECO US reminded President Biden that “some years back you ordered the removal of Nigeria from the list of countries with religious freedom concerns, just a day before Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Nigeria. The people of Nigeria considered your actions indeed outrageous that the State Department has removed Nigeria as a Country of Special Concern list entirely, not even placing it on the less severe Special Watch List for religious persecution.”
The group equally wondered why the Biden administration should designate two entities from Nigeria, Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, as “Entities of Special Concern” and leave out “the Fulani jihadist militias that have been responsible for the majority of the killings of Christians in Nigeria in recent years.”
Insisting that religious persecution has not reduced since the exit of immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari, but may probably be getting worse under the present administration where both the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shettima, are Muslims, the pro-democracy body urged the US president to take action and ensure that such persecution is no longer allowed to be swept under the carpet, especially by placing Nigeria, a country which has the highest number of Christians in the African continent, on the list of Countries of Particular Concern.
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