Omission of Nigeria from “Countries of Particular Concern” Angers Christian Rights Entity

Credit: CSW

Nigeria is one of the countries that the United States (U.S.) State Department has struck out of its Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list, a move that has angered the human rights foundation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

CSW finds it necessary that the West African country remains on the list, considering ongoing violations of rights, especially in the northern parts of the country, where Christians are said to be living under severe stress, and in the other parts where armed Fulani herdsmen are killing farmers almost daily in what has been described as “a gathering storm”.

In a Monday, December 5 December 5 report, the human rights foundation expresses disappointment with the U.S. statement department for omitting Nigeria, and several other countries, from its CPC list despite the situation of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in the countries remaining “under serious threat”.

“CSW is disappointed at the United States (US) State Department’s decision to omit India, Nigeria, and several other states in which the situation of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) remains under serious threat from its Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list,” the foundation laments.

CSW adds that under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998, the U.S. State Department is required to review the situation of FoRB in every country around the world, and designate those in which the government has engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom” as CPCs.


Nigeria was removed from the CPC list in November 2021, after having been added for the first time in 2020.

CSW says that in the year since the west African country was removed from the list, the human rights foundation has continued to receive near-daily reports of egregious religion-related violence by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East, and assailants of Fulani origin, in Central and Northwestern States.

There are also ongoing historic violations targeting Christian communities in the country’s Shari’a States, CSW reports.

Nigeria has witnessed a series of extrajudicial killings following unproven blasphemy accusations, including that of student Deborah Yakubu.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has placed Algeria, Vietnam, and the Central African Republic (CAR) on the Special Watch List, while the Wagner Group has been designated an Entity of Particular Concern based on its activities in CAR.

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Lauding the move, CSW’s Founder President, Mervyn Thomas, says, “CSW is pleased by the… acknowledgment of the deteriorating conditions in Algeria, Vietnam, and CAR, including the appalling violations committed with impunity by the Wagner Group.

He says that CSW is, however, “deeply disappointed” that the State Department failed to draw similar conclusions regarding India and Nigeria.

The governments of both countries, Mr. Thomas says, “fail continually and manifestly to protect vulnerable religious or belief communities, and in both cases are responsible for emboldening perpetrators of religion-related violence, either through inaction or intolerant rhetoric.”

He appeals to the U.S. State Department to review the situation of freedom of religion or belief in Nigeria and India in particular “as a matter of urgency”, and to ensure that “economic and geopolitical gains are not prioritized over the rights, freedoms, and lives of individuals and religious communities.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.