The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has berated the United States government for removing Nigeria from its 2021 list of religious violators, saying the association is at a loss on the data used in arriving at the decision to delist the country.
CAN made this known on Saturday in statement signed by it’s President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle.
TheFactNigeria Recalled that the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, had on Wednesday announced that Nigeria has been delisted from countries on the 2020 religious violators list leaving China and nine other countries.
Blinken later visited President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.
However CAN said Christians are still being attacked and nothing has changed to warrant the removal of Nigeria from the list of religious violators.
The statement said, “The US government did not contact us when they were listing Nigeria among the countries of ‘Particular Concern’ on religious freedom, neither did they seek our 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.
“Whatever may be the data they used, our prayer is that Nigeria would be a country where no religious group is discriminated against or persecuted and that our government would see to it that all religiously biased policies are discontinued with.
“Christians had faced and are still facing persecution from ISWAP and the Boko Haram Islamic Group till today as before. 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!”
The Christian association also said discrimination against Christians, especially in Northern Nigeria has not stopped.
“Up till today, our 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.
“Once again, we urge the US government to help us by allowing us to know what has changed between the time our country was put in the list of ‘countries of particular concern’ and now,” the statement read.