The US government has added Nigeria to a blacklist of countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.”
Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, the DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan were also added to the list.
The inclusion of Nigeria in the religion violations list was announced by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Twitter.
He said, “Upholding the right to religious freedom is a moral and national security imperative. Where religious freedom is absent, terrorism, and violence fester. Our advocacy for religious communities abroad helps to ensure the protection and prosperity of Americans at home.
“Today the US designates Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for engaging systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations.
“The US is unwavering in its commitment to religious freedom. No country or entity should be allowed to persecute people with impunity because of their beliefs. These annual designations show that when religious freedom is attacked, we will act."
The development comes a year after the US government put Nigeria on a Special Watch List.