- The Nigerian government has condemned the designation of Nigeria as a country that tolerates violations against religion
- The condemnation was made by the minister of information, culture and tourism Lai Mohammed on Sunday, December 22
- Mohammed said the tag by the US government against Nigeria is iniquitous and stems from an orchestrated narrative that has long been discredited
The Federal Government of Nigeria has rejected the designation of Nigeria as a country that engages in or tolerates violations of religious violations by the United States of America.
The minister of information, culture and tourism, Lai Mohammed said the tag by the US government against Nigeria is iniquitous and stems from an orchestrated narrative that has long been discredited
A statement by the special assistant to the minister on media, Segun Adeyemi, in Abuja on Sunday, December 22, said the good people of Nigeria enjoy unfettered freedom to practise their religion.
Mohammed also blamed "failed politicians and disgruntled elements - some of them supposedly-respected leaders - for latching on to religion as their Trump card, especially in the run-up to the last general elections, to oust the Buhari Administration.
The minister said it is unfortunate that the US fell for the antics of the discontented and the unpatriotic few, who will not hesitate to hang Nigeria out to dry on the altar of their inordinate ambition and their sheer animosity towards the Administration.
Mohammed added that the Nigerian government is acutely aware of how the political opposition, in particular, had spared no resources in deriving political capital from the various security challenges in Nigeria.
The minister said: "The deliberate effort to give religious colouration to the farmers-herders clashes and the Boko Haram insurgency, in particular, has undoubtedly helped to mislead the US into concluding that the government is doing little or nothing to guarantee religious freedom in the country."
Stating that the farmers-herders clashes have nothing to do with religion but everything to do with environmental and socio-economic realities, Mohammed said the religious tag given to the clashes has no basis in fact but is very convenient for those who will very easily give the dog a bad name just to hang it.
"On its part, the Boko Haram terrorists are extreme fanatics who do not subscribe to the tenets of any religion, in spite of their pretence to Islamic adherence,'' he said.
He said the good news is that the government has succeeded in curbing the farmers-herders clashes through the implementation of proactive and multi-dimensional strategy, which is yielding remarkable results, just as it has largely defeated the Boko Haram insurgency.
On the El-Zakzaky issue, which was referred to in the report by the US government, he described it is purely a criminal matter, which is being handled by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The Minister said while the government welcomes constructive criticism from any quarter, it rejects any attempt to sow the seed of mistrust among the various religious groups in the country.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the US government had placed Nigeria on watch-list of countries with a lack of tolerance for religion.
A statement released by the US titled; United States Takes Action Against Violators of Religious Freedom and released by the US secretary of state, Michael Pompeo, said the protection of religious freedom is a top priority for President Donald Trump administration's foreign policy.
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