The U.S. government has added Nigeria to a “Special Watch List (SWL)” of countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.”
This is coming at a time many Nigerians and the international community have criticised the Nigerian government for its serial violations of court orders and the shrinking civic and media space in the country.
The inclusion of Nigeria in the religion violations list was announced by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
“On December 18, 2019, the Department of State re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.”
“The Department renewed the placement of Comoros, Russia, and Uzbekistan on a Special Watch List (SWL) for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom,” and added Cuba, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Sudan to this list,” Mr Pompeo said.
According to Mr Pompeo, the U.S. also designated al-Nusra Front, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Khorasan, and the Taliban as Entities of Particular Concern.