20th November, 2021
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has faulted the United States in delisting Nigeria from its religious freedom blacklist.
CAN’s President, Rev Samson Ayokunle in a statement titled, ‘CPC List: We Are At a Loss On the Data the US Government Used for the Delisting of Nigeria – CAN,’ said the US supposed to have contacted it before taking such decision.
Ayokunle said the US government did not contact CAN when they were listing Nigeria among the countries of ‘Particular Concern’ on religious freedom, neither did they seek its opinion before removing Nigeria from the list.
“If they had done, we would have been able to compare the statistics then and now on the issue of freedom of religion in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, whatever might be the data they used, CAN’s prayer is that Nigeria would be a country where no religious group is discriminated against or persecuted and that government would see to it that all religiously biased policies were discontinued with.
Ayokunle lamented that Christians had faced and were still facing persecution from ISWAP and the Boko Haram Islamic Group till today as before.
He said these “are the people who said their agenda was to wipe away Christianity from Nigeria and to plant Islam as the only religion from the North down to the Atlantic Ocean in the South. That agenda with the killing of Christians has not stopped till today and Nigerians are living witnesses
“The bandits have joined other militant Islamic groups to be ferociously attacking churches, killing worshippers and kidnapping for ransom. The herdsmen are equally doing their havoc. We have lost many people and places of worship to their assault, especially in the Northcentral part of the country and the Northeast.
“Though the madness has grown now and those who are not Christians are being attacked, killed and kidnapped, this is because these criminal acts have become a lucrative business and it is whoever you can kidnap for money! If the government had responded appropriately when this criminal madness began and subdued these evil groups immediately, we wouldn’t be where we are now!”
He decried that till today, the government is still funding the membership of Nigeria in all the International Islamic organisations like OIC and its allies without being part of any international Christian organization.
Ayokunle urged the US government to help CAN by allowing it to know what had changed between the time Nigeria was put in the list of ‘countries of particular concern’ and now.