The United State of America Government has added Nigeria to a Special Watch List of countries that have engaged in violations of religious freedom.
Following the 2018 report of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom which added the West African Country recommended that Nigeria as a country of particular concern.
Violation of rights of Shi’a members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and violent clashes in Middle-Belt states are some of the cases cited in the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom report
Below is Part of the 2018 report
“Religious freedom conditions in Nigeria trended negatively in 2018. The Nigerian government at the national and state levels continued to tolerate violence and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, and suppressed the freedom to manifest religion or belief.
“Religious sectarian violence increased during the year, with Muslims and Christians attacked based on their religious and ethnic identity.
“The Nigerian military and government continued to violate the religious freedom and human rights of the Shi’a members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). IMN leader Sheikh Ibrahim Al Zak Zaky remained in detention.
However, in 12 Muslim-majority northern Nigerian states, federalism has allowed the adoption of Islamic Shari’ah law in the criminal codes. The Nigerian constitution also establishes the roles of customary law and Shari’ah courts for Islamic personal law, family.”
Talking about Nigeria being included in the “Special Watch List”, the United State Secretary of State, Mr. Mike Pompeo said that the Taliban, al-Nusra Front, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, Boko Haram, ISIS, the Houthis has the marked as Entities of Particular Concern
In his words he said:
“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.”