Some Christian youths have rejected the United States’ designation of Nigeria as one of the religious intolerant countries in the world.
The group, under the auspices of Young Christian Forum of Nigeria (YCFN) said “the U.S’ assessment lacks objectivity in every form and was made without recourse to the religious plurality of Nigeria.”
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Speaking at a press conference on Friday in Abuja, President, Pastor Prince Gideon, said the U.S. lacks “moral authority to label Nigeria as a religious intolerant country for the fact that there hasn’t been any instance where adherents of the various religious faiths in Nigeria have been hindered or prevented from practising or engaging in their religious beliefs”.
According to the YCfN, there hasn’t been any instance where the government has placed restrictions on religious expressions, adding that no Christian or Muslim had been prosecuted for practising their faiths.
The group also reminded the U.S. that the Nigerian government had never shut a religious place of worship under any guise.
The group, therefore, demanded an unreserved apology to be tendered to Nigeria and Nigerians from the United States of America.
It, however, advised the U.S to begin the process of removing Nigeria from its blacklist of countries of concern for engaging systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violation.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had via his official twitter handle designated Nigeria as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom, the rare inclusion of a fellow democracy in the US effort to shame nations into action.
“These annual designations show that when religious freedom is attacked, we will act,” Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, wrote on Twitter.
Church groups have reportedly expressed their rising concerns to the US.
US law requires designations for nations that either engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.”
Other countries on the blacklist are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, Iran, Eritrea, Myanmar, North Korea, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.