There cannot be a more definitive/timely approach at least for now to the ongoing religious persecution in Nigeria, than the security searchlight of the United States of America being beamed on Nigeria. Pragmatic President Donald Trump has ordered this, following the alarming impunity of the Nigerian government against religious beliefs of the encaged and oppressed indigenous people especially Biafrans. It is indeed a worthwhile one, worthy of commendation. The global community should note that before the United States government's classification of Nigeria, there was a detailed brief by the American Information Center about developments as orchestrated by the radical jihadi Fulani Islamists in charge of the Nigerian government. The radical Islamic fundamentalists since 2015, when retired General Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of power, the Nigerian government has been using state security agencies to drive religious and other beliefs persecution in the country particularly against the Biafran people within the Eastern part of the Nigerian contraption.
Factually, the intervention of the United States government in the crass impunity being perpetrated against non-muslims in Nigeria, is long anticipated. Biafrans had for long, expected the US government to wade into this matter when the jihadi Police Force of the Nigerian radical Islamic government especially the Abia State Command, started unleashing terror on the people. Example is the activities of one Police Commissioner, Anthony Ogbizi, who was ordered to carry out the persecution of Biafran Jewish adherents just because of their Jewishness and religious beliefs. Nigerian jihadi police force in Abia State severally assaulted, wounded, arrested, tortured and illegitimately detained the Jewish worshippers in Umuahia, Abia State, Biafraland. This lasted for months because they were observing their annual religious procession of Hanukkah.
It is well on record that the jihadi Police Commissioner boastfully declared before newsmen in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, that the police officers under his command, brutalized the Jewish adherents because their belief and propagation were unrecognized in Nigeria and Judaism was equally unacceptable. What really baffled newsmen hinged on if this poorly educated Police Commissioner actually understood the stipulations of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 as amended. It stated that Nigeria is a secular state, practising freedom of religion and does not recognize any as a state religion. The Nigerian government through it's lawless and vampiric jihadi police force in Umuahia, Abia State Command, arrested, tortured and detained these Jewish worshippers for months for peacefully carrying out their religious obligations. Amongst them was a physically challenged adherent known as Mazi David Simon Igboke. It took strenuous legal battles between volunteered legal practitioners representing the separatist organization in Biafra region, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Abia State Police, to secure a stringent bail for the incarcerated Jewish adherents.
Now that the government of the United States of America has courageously broken it's silence and placed the Nigerian government on "Special Watch List" of nations perpetrating religious and other beliefs persecution in the world, it is noteworthy to state here therefore that it is the only antidote to the menace. The Nigerian government has relentlessly been persecuting IPOB family members through the instrumentality of the Nigerian security agencies due to their independence agitation beliefs, as well as the Biafran Jews due to their Jewishness/Judaism. What Nigeria needs outright dissolution. The US government should tactically instigate the needful because that is the only thing that will restore peace and tranquility in the West African sub-region. It is unfortunate however that the Nigerian government has blatantly continued to commit atrocities against the Biafran Jews due to religious beliefs as well as against IPOB as a result of their agitation for political independence. The Nigerian government through the presidency, has arrogantly stated that it is not answerable to the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the European Union, on issues bordering on human rights.
The global community is presently looking forward to seeing the US government, take pragmatic step in outrightly dissolving Nigeria so that the entrapped indigenous nations could regain their freedom and enjoy their existence. There is apparently no type of evil that the Nigerian government has not committed against Biafrans because of their drive for an independent Biafra. President Donald Trump must have to courageously act now in respect for the international laws protecting human rights.
The only valuable gift the government of the United States of America can hand over to the people of the West African sub-region, is to facilitate the immediate dissolution of the Nigerian contraption for freedom, justice, enduring peace and progress. This is the only legacy that is worth leaving behind for generations to come.
Written by Mazi Onyebuchi Eze
Edited by Peter Oshagwu
For Family Writers Press International
A few days ago the United States of America placed Nigeria on a Special Watch List (SWL) of countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom".
In his official reaction the Honorable Minister of Information of Nigeria, Mr. Lai Mohammed said, inter alia, that "The United States have been misled by propaganda" and that the Americans were "sowing seeds of religious mistrust in Nigeria".
If there was ever a misplaced, misguided, inelegant, impolite, inappropriate, unacceptable and wholly irresponsible response to a very serious issue from a senior Government official this is it. And in his characteristic manner Lai Mohammed has once again outdone himself with his dirty and habitual lies.
This is the same repugnant and ugly little creature that told us in 2014 that banning Boko Haram and labelling them terrorists was "unfair and unjust". It is the same goat that once bleated to the nation that he had "never told a lie before" in his entire life.
Yet the truth is that Lai Mohammed is a pathological liar and a very sick man. Like satan, "he was a liar, the father of lies and a murderer from the start". Lying comes natuarlly to him because that is his nature, that is his name and that is what he came to the world to do.
He and his master Buhari compliment each other very well. Both are heartless, deceptive, deceitful, callous, dangerous, mendacious, insensitive, self-serving and, worse of all, they have no fear of God.
It is trite to say that not only are the Americans right about the vicious and murderous persecution that Christians are faced with in parts of Nigeria but they are also right about their fears for Christians and religious persecution in our country. We as Nigerian Christians welcome their concern and I am glad to see that CAN has said so publicly.
Yet it doesn't stop there and Lai is not alone in his brazen display of falsehood and perfidy. Others in the Federal Government have made as much of a fool of themselves on this matter as he has done.
For example on his own part, the village idiot of Aso Rock, Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Advisor to President Buhari on Media and Publicity said,
"The United States itself has enough to chew solving its own problems not to talk of poke-nosing into that of another country. No man, no country, nobody has appointed them the Policeman of the world, let them face their own issues".
Strong and predictable words yet why would anyone be surprised about such an obnoxious, shallow, specious and pernicious contribution from this certified dullard. After all this is the same man that said that we should either give up our land to the Fulani herdsmen or give up our lives.
He also said that Nigeria would have been a better place by now if Buhari's military regime had remained in power in 1985. This was a regime that abducted, injected and crated its critics and opponents, like Umaru Dikko, on the streets of London, locked up many people indefinately in detention, passed legislation to jail people for criticising the Head of State and the Government even where the allegations were true, clamped down on the media by jailing journalists and executed people by applying the death penalty retroactively.
It matters not to him that thousands of Christians have been targetted and butchered all over the north over the last four years even though he claims to be a Christian himself.
On Christmas eve and Christmas day in 2016 alone no less than 800 defenceless Christian's, including women and children, were slaughtered in their homes by Fulani herdsmen yet the Federal Government which Femi serves did not arrest or prosecute any of the perpetrators and terrorists but instead turned a blind eye to their inhuman and barbaric behaviour. And this has been the pattern since 2015!
One year ago, before the entire world, when Femi's boss crawled and lobbied his way to the White House and President Donald Trump gave him a public warning before the entire world at a press conference at the White House to "stop the killing of Christians", Femi Adesina and Buhari did not say that America is not the world's policeman but instead smiled sheepishly, stood at attention, saluted with gusto and offered a very timid "yes sir, thank you sir!".
Today it is a different story simply because they believe that they have sufficiently cowed the Nigerian people into accepting anything including the most barbarous atrocities.
What an unfolding tragedy this is and whether Femi and his boss like it or not the truth is slowly coming out. Only God knows where it will all end.
This brings me to a wider issue. As an Anago and a proud son of Oduduwa I am disgusted and disturbed that most of those that attempt to defend the indefensible actions and policies of Buhari are fellow Oduduwans and Anagos like Lai Mohammed, Femi Adesina and Yemi Osinbajo.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo's inglorious reaction to the suffering, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and genocide of Christian's in northern Nigeria earlier this year was to run with his tail between his legs to Vice President Mike Pence of the United States and attempt to sell the lie that reports of such atrocities in Nigeria were "wildly exagerrated".
This is tragic coming from a man that claims to be a Pastor, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a Professor of law and unfortunately for him his deceitful attempt to spin the lie and pervert the course of justice did not work. Pence, Trump and the United States of America were not fooled.
I am constrained to ask, whatever happened to the Anagos and sons and daughters of Oduduwa as a people that such certified dimwits, filthy garbage, servile quislings and gutless and incredulous characters are amongst those that are representing us at the Federal level. Surely we can do better than that!
Permit me to end this contribution with the words of my friend and brother and one of the most profound and respected men of God of our time, Prophet T.B. Joshua. He said,
"Evil is rampant everywhere in our society today. Unfortunately evil seems to prevail more than good. When you put love in your life, in your home, in your relationship, in the place of work and all around you, you drive out evil. Evil cannot stand love".
How I wish that Buhari and his men could learn from this. How I wish they could see the light. How I wish they were believers. How I wish they knew the virtues and awesome power of love and recognised the futility of hate. How I wish they knew the Living God.
May the Lord deliver our nation from the hands of deceitful liars and evil and bloodthirsty men!
By Oriental Times
21st December 2019
The United States of America has placed Nigeria on a special watch list of countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom” and it is a major blow on President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.
A statement on Friday by the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo explained Nigeria was added to the list alongside Cuba, Nicaragua and Sudan.
The United States of America also designated Boko Haram as an Entity of Particular Concern alongside al-Nusra Front, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabab, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Khorasan and the Taliban.
Other countries that have been on the list under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 include Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The US Department of State also renewed the placement of Comoros, Russia and Uzbekistan on the Special Watch List (SWL).
Nigeria may have joined the list because of the clampdown on Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shiite Muslims as well as the killing of Christians in the north.
The Department explained: “These designations underscore the United States’ commitment to protect those who seek to exercise their freedom of religion or belief.
“We believe that everyone, everywhere, at all times, should have the right to live according to the dictates of their conscience.
“We will continue to challenge state and non-state entities that seek to infringe upon those fundamental rights and to ensure they are held to account for their actions.”
US-based human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe described the placement of Nigeria on the list as long overdue.
He said the killings of Christians and burning of churches in the north were enough to penalize the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
According to him: “We are happy to note that despite these shortcomings, the US government saw enough to escalate Nigeria’s designation to the penultimate Warning Watchlist.
“Nigeria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian and it is high time this is recognised.
“It is to be noted however that the US is launching an international alliance of countries for religious freedom early in the New Year.
“I understand that if countries like Nigeria agree to work to improve their standing by joining this alliance, it may help turn around the nation’s current negative ranking.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP
By Igho Akeregha (Abuja Bureau Chief) and Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze
22nd December 2019
Two days after the United States government placed Nigeria on a Special Watch List (SWL) of countries that have engaged in, or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom, the Federal Government has maintained sealed lips over the development.
But the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has hailed the action as a welcome development, tasking the Federal Government to address concerns that led to the action.
President of the Association, Rev Dr. Samson Ayokunle, yesterday, told The Guardian that sincere appraisal of the untold hardship Christians are going through in the country, especially in states such as Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Taraba justifies the decision of the US government, as Christians living in those states were being slaughtered like rams by the Boko Haram terrorists, and killer herdsmen while the security agencies appear powerless and government lacks the political will to deal with the criminals.
He said: “In Southern Kaduna, for months, Christians were being killed in their communities, their property were burnt and their lands were confiscated, but till today, those who were responsible for those carnage and genocide are yet to be brought to book. Some suspects paraded by the Police were later set free. A Christian traditional ruler was killed while returning from Kaduna State and his subjects, who were protesting against the evil deed were reportedly punished severely by security agencies.”
According to him: “The same narrative occurred in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Taraba states, where criminal herdsmen invaded predominantly Christian communities killing, maiming and burning their property and confiscating them. Till today, those who were responsible are still at large as if they were spirits. To compound the problem, some of their victims are being arrested and detained by the Police for weeks. In Benue State, there were cases of mass burial as if the affected communities were at war.”
Ayokunle said that another thing that could be responsible for the US’ government’s action is the lopsided appointments in the polity, which makes it look as if the government is against Christians.
He added that in previous meetings between CAN and President Muhammadu Buhari, “the association made it abundantly clear to him that the lopsided appointments of his government in favour of a religion and a section of the country was unacceptable. Although he promised to look into the observation with a view to addressing it, what we are seeing and hearing about the government is the continuation of the lopsided appointments.”
The CAN President observed that there are enough evidence to prove that the subtle Islamisation agenda and nepotism are real, adding that 98 per cent of the security chiefs belong to same faith, and come from one part of the country, while all the key appointments that are being made since the second term of the President began follow the same blueprint. “These are facts and they are violations of some portions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). These include, but not limited to Sections 10, 13 (3-4), 15 (2) (d) and (4). It is widely believed that no country survived two civil wars. Our leaders should be mindful of the complexities of the people they are leading.
“As if those discriminatory policies are not enough, the Chief Justice of Nigeria few days ago called for the amendment to the Constitution with a view to adding more Sharia contents. Since the Chief Justice has not denied the story and the government has failed to call him to order, it is crystal clear that the US government has more facts than the government thinks. We call on the government not to be insensitive to the new development but instead to address all the factors that are responsible,” the CAN president said.
Nigeria’s inclusion in the list of countries that violate religious freedom was announced by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
But while the government and indeed Nigerians were still coming to terms with the U.S’s latest action against the country, a Warri, Delta State-based legal practitioner, Otome Adamidenyo informed The Guardian, yesterday, that the country’s blacklisting was long overdue.
Also the Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Ibuchukwu Ezike took a swipe at the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for looking the other way while Christians were killed or maimed, and churches razed down in the northern part of the country.
“This is a welcome development. The US has led the way and showed the rest of the world that it is truly a free and democratic society. I call on Europe and the rest of humanity to condemn the religious carnage and discrimination in Nigeria” Ezike told The Guardian on phone.
The U. S. action is coming at a time many Nigerians have criticised the government for its serial violations of the secular status in the country, as provided for in the Constitution.
Several calls and text messages sent by The Guardian to Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, did not get any response.
This was after Femi Adesina, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media informed The Guardian that he was not in a position to comment on the issue, and directed all enquiries on the matter to Mohammed.
“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,” Pompeo said.
According to Mr Pompeo, the U.S. also designated al-Nusra Front, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Khorasan, and the Taliban as Entities of Particular Concern.
The 2018 report of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which recommended Nigeria’s designation as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), noted that religious freedom trended negatively in 2018.
“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.”
The report added that “religious sectarian violence increased during the year, with Muslims and Christians attacked based on their religious and ethnic identity.”
Another case cited is the violation of rights of Shi’a members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
“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.”
Already, U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, welcomed the addition of Nigeria to the SWL. Mr. Smith, who had visited Nigeria to consult with stakeholders on religious freedom, promised that, “we will pay particular attention to Nigeria and the deteriorating situation under the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in the year ahead.”
He added: “President Buhari must address the murderous attacks conducted by Fulani extremists on Christians in the Middle Belt and the oppression of Shia Muslims in Kaduna State.”
Congressman Smith also said during the visit, “I also call upon the State Department to monitor the actions of Miyetti Allah with regard to its complicity in attacks by Fulani extremists.”
As Nigeria struggles for international investment and support to tackle growing insecurity, analysts believe this report could cast a huge slur on government effort in mobilising the required resources to overcome the challenges.
By Oriental Times
20th December 2019
A former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of damaging Nigeria’s reputation following his government’s disrespect for the rule of law.
Mr Campbell served as U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria from May 12, 2004, to July 19, 2007.
In his reaction titled: “Buhari’s Dictatorial Past and the Rule of Law Today in Nigeria” about the continued detention of Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr Campbell said: “the state security service assault on a courtroom and the re-arrest of Sowore has already damaged the country’s international reputation.”
Mr Campbell’s reaction was published as a blog post on the website of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The diplomat also spoke about the danger ahead of the press following Punch Newspaper’s editorial that announced that it will prefix President Buhari’s name with his military rank, Major General, and will refer to his administration as a “regime,” until “they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”
The Punch mentioned the treatment of actisit Omoyele Sowore, Shiite cleric Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and ex-National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki as some of the cases of violation of the rule of law by Mr Buhari’s regime.
Mr Campbell noted that the criticism of Mr “Buhari is not surprising, but it is worth noting that Zakzaky and Dasuki are both northern Muslims. What is different this time is the parallelism between military rule and Buhari’s civilian administration.”
“Nigeria’s foreign friends will be hoping that the government takes no move to limit Punch’s freedom of expression. The SSS assault on a court room and the re-arrest of Sowore has already damaged the country’s international reputation.”
In another article written on Thursday, Mr Campbell said: “the Sowore re-arrest is consolidating opposition to the president by civil society, the press, international opinion and now religious leaders. It is to be hoped that the Buhari administration is looking actively for a way to defuse the Sowore issue, perhaps by allowing him to return to the United States.”(Premium Times)
The United States has placed Nigeria on a special watch list over alleged religious persecution - Other countries on the list are Comoros, Russia, and Uzbekistan, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Sudan - The US government said the designation is part of the Trump's administration to promote religious freedom and combat abuses
Following allegations of rights violations, the United States has put Nigeria's on a special watch list of countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.” - This was disclosed in a statement titled United States Takes Action Against Violators of Religious Freedom and released on Friday, December 20, by the US secretary of state, Michael Pompeo. - Pompeo noted that the protection of religious freedom is a top priority for President Donald Trump administration's foreign policy. - He explained that the designations were parts of Trump's administration to promote religious freedom and combat abuses.
The US authorities said it placed Nigeria, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Sudan "on a Special Watch List (SWL) for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.” - The US authorities also designated Boko Haram as an Entity of Particular Concern alongside other terrorist organisations. - We will continue to challenge state and non-state entities that seek to infringe upon those fundamental rights and to ensure they are held to account for their actions," the statement added partly. - Though the US does not specifically indicate why Nigeria was put on the list, Legit.ng notes that the federal government has been having an unending battle the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) also referred to as Shiites - The federal government has since proscribed the IMN, saying the move was to discourage violence, murder and willful destruction of public and private property by the group. - Recently, members of the IMN made an appeal to the federal government for a peaceful dialogue. The group, through its leader in the Katsina chapter, Malam Yahaya Yakubu, on Saturday, October 19, said that the move is to ensure that peace reigns in the country.