Rome Newsroom, 18 November, 2021 / 9:20 pm (ACI Africa).
After the U.S. State Department released its list of countries with the most egregious religious freedom violations this week, human rights advocates expressed shock that Nigeria was removed from this year’s list.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a statement on Nov. 17 saying that it was “appalled” at the State Department’s “unexplainable” decision to treat Nigeria as a country with no severe religious freedom violations.
In its own annual religious freedom report, USCIRF found that Nigerian citizens faced violence by militant Islamists, as well as discrimination, arbitrary detentions, and capital blasphemy sentences by state-sanctioned Shariah courts.
Kidnappers in Nigeria targeted Christians for abduction and execution, at least 11 churches were attacked in the country’s Middle Belt, and the local chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Adamawa State was beheaded by Boko Haram fighters in 2020, according to the report.
Earlier this month, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja called on Nigeria’s Catholics to pray the rosary for an end to “the irrational killings and attacks resulting in internally displaced people.”