‘Christians’ persecution’: Nigerian government replies US senators

Lai Mohammed reiterated that the two major religions in Nigeria are collaborating to find solution to the crisis and bring peace and harmony.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed [DW]

The Federal Government on Monday, July 4, 2022, condemned the call by five US Republican Senators asking for the redesignation of Nigeria as a country of particular concern because of alleged persecution of Christians.

The Senators who made the call in a letter to the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, also alleged violation of freedom of Christians’ rights to practice their religion.

Responding to the allegation in an interview with newsmen in London, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the call was based on false premise and misunderstanding of what was going on in the country.

Newsmen report the minister is in London for engagements with international media as well as some relevant Non-Governmental Organisations.

“You will recall that only few months ago, Nigeria was taken out of the list of countries of particular concern because it was proven that there is no iota of truth in the allegation that Christians or any religion was being persecuted or people were not allowed to practise religion of their choice.

"We want to say once again that Nigeria does not have a policy that denies people the freedom to practise their religion.

“The country also does not have a policy of violation of freedom of religion and it is not true that Nigeria persecutes anybody on account of his or her faith,” he said.

Mohammed noted that the constitution of Nigeria guarantees the right of anybody to practise his or her own faith without molestation and the government has always safeguarded the constitutional provision jealously.

He said most commentators who were not well versed in the politics and happenings in Nigeria took criminalities and communal clashes as issues of religious persecution.

“Nobody in Nigeria is being persecuted but we have issues of criminality going on and the criminals really do not make distinction of any religion.

“They kidnap for money, they hold people on ransom irrespective of their religion and there are some issues of communal matters dating back to many years.

“If statistic is to be taken, I can say confidently that as many Muslims as Christians have been victims of these criminals,” he said.

According to the minister, the only known group that targets Christians was the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP)

He, however said that the federal government had mounted a large scale military operation to wipe out the criminals and it is yielding results.

“What ISWAP is doing is that because of their dwindling influence, they are now attacking churches and Christians in order to create crisis between various religious groups.

“But as a government, we are after them,” he said.

The minister said some NGOs were also feeding the international community with wrong information to get funds from donors.

Mohammed reiterated that the two major religions in Nigeria, Islam and Christianity, are also collaborating to find solution to the crisis and bring peace and harmony.

He gave the example of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) which is working to foster unity and better understanding between the Christian and Islamic faiths.

The minister solicited support from multilateral organisations and foreign countries in tackling the challenges of insecurity.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Former APC chairman nominated governorship campaign DG by  Plateau PDP

Former APC chairman nominated governorship campaign DG by Plateau PDP

Gov Ikpeazu to release N30m for Asa Electricity Project

Gov Ikpeazu to release N30m for Asa Electricity Project

We did not spend N18.9 billion on bush clearing contract - Agric Ministry dismisses claims

We did not spend N18.9 billion on bush clearing contract - Agric Ministry dismisses claims

5 ways Nigerians reacted to the electricity workers strike

5 ways Nigerians reacted to the electricity workers strike

Breaking: Electricity workers suspend strike after hours of blackout

Breaking: Electricity workers suspend strike after hours of blackout

Ogun PDP: I will fight this battle till end -Segun Showunmi

Ogun PDP: I will fight this battle till end -Segun Showunmi

NDLEA arrests pharma company MD for selling illicit drugs online

NDLEA arrests pharma company MD for selling illicit drugs online

Over 1.2m under-5 children stunted in Katsina – Report

Over 1.2m under-5 children stunted in Katsina – Report

Strike: Ikeja Electric, EKEDC react as Lagos experiences blackout

Strike: Ikeja Electric, EKEDC react as Lagos experiences blackout