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US Lawmakers Opposes Blinken’s Decision, Want Nigeria Relisted as Religious Persecutor A group of United States lawmakers has written a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to reverse his decision to remove Nigeria from the list of countries that violate religious freedom. “We are deeply troubled by your recent decision to remove Nigeria from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). “This decision is egregious. Your action undermines the United States’ commitment to protecting international religious freedom,” 12 Congressmembers said in the letter dated December 9. Blinken yanked Nigeria off the list last month to a storm of criticism from religious rights activists across continents, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) based London and US Nigeria Law Group (USNLG) Managing Partner, Emmanuel Ogebe, based in Washington. US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also expressed strong opposition to the decision, describing it as “appalling”. USCIRF said it found it “unexplainable” that the Department of State did not redesignate Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) and treated it as a country with no severe religious freedom violations. “USCIRF is disappointed that the State Department did not adopt our recommendations in designating the countries that are the worst violators of religious freedom,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza. US lawmakers argue against delisting Nigeria “One of our founding ideals as a nation is to allow citizens the freedom to practice religion and to maintain that freedom to do so. “As a result of this core value, we as a nation are compelled to promote religious freedom around the world and point it out when other counties are not,” the lawmakers explained in the letter. “We are deeply troubled by your recent decision to remove Nigeria from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). “This decision is egregious. Your action undermines the United States’ commitment to protecting international religious freedom. “Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa, is home to 80 million professing Christians. Millions of Christians living in Nigeria face some of the worst acts of persecution, causing many to flee as a result of the devastating violence. “Since June of 2015, there have been 11,000 Nigerian Christians killed by jihadists, radicalized herdsmen from the Fulani tribe and the emerging Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. 1,202 of those killings happened in the first six months of 2020. “In 2021 alone, an estimated 3,462 Christians have been killed. “We find this decision highly suspect, as it came just days before your trip to Africa to meet with Nigerian officials. It also goes directly against the 2021 recommendations for Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) and Special Watch List (SWL) by United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). “Your refusal to listen to the recommendations of the USCIRF and blatant disregard to the atrocities in Nigeria lacks necessary condemnation to those currently committing religious persecution abroad. “We implore you to reconsider this decision.” The 12 members of the US House of Representatives who signed the letter are: Mary Miller Bob Good Mark Green Ralph Norman Gus Bilirakis Vicky Hartzler Tracy Mann Mo Brooks Michael Guest Brian Babin Louie Gohmert Laurent Boebert Dan Bishop Michael Cloud Ogebe commends lawmakers’ action US Nigeria Law Group (USNLG) Managing Partner, Emmanuel Ogebe, who is based in Washington, commended the lawmakers for urging Blinken to reverse the religious persecution delisting because it gives Abuja the “license to kill”. He thanked the Congressmen and women who took “the bold step” of calling out Blinken for his “ill-advised” removal of Nigeria from the list of religious persecutors. Ogebe said: “Probably no policy position of the US government on Nigeria has attracted more universal condemnation than this. “Indeed, the bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom took the rare step of condemning a fellow US government office – the U.S. State Department. “Even members of the British House of Lords in the U.K. have similarly lampooned Secretary Blinken’s actions as have NGOs all over US, Europe and Nigeria. “The action was baseless and amounts to voodoo diplomacy as even during my latest visit to Nigeria last week, over a dozen Muslim worshippers were reportedly killed and women raped in mosques while dozens of hapless people were burnt alive in cars. “Similarly, in addition to the failure of most states to complete their own #EndSARs investigations, even Lagos state that was hailed for exposing the truth of the Lekki massacre has now backpedaled and shot itself in the foot by denying that there was indeed a massacre. “Accordingly, … Blinken is urged to rethink the license to kill given to Nigeria especially as we mark the 5th anniversary of the Shiites massacre in Kaduna state. “It is not too late to get it right, and Blinken owes it to humanity and himself not to screw up again this year.”
US Lawmakers Opposes Blinken’s Decision, Want Nigeria Relisted as Religious Persecutor A group of United States lawmakers has written a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to reverse his decision to remove Nigeria from the list of countries that violate religious freedom. “We are deeply troubled by your recent decision to remove Nigeria from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). “This decision is egregious. Your action undermines the United States’ commitment to protecting international religious freedom,” 12 Congressmembers said in the letter dated December 9. Blinken yanked Nigeria off the list last month to a storm of criticism from religious rights activists across continents, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) based London and US Nigeria Law Group (USNLG) Managing Partner, Emmanuel Ogebe, based in Washington. US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also expressed strong opposition to the decision, describing it as “appalling”. USCIRF said it found it “unexplainable” that the Department of State did not redesignate Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) and treated it as a country with no severe religious freedom violations. “USCIRF is disappointed that the State Department did not adopt our recommendations in designating the countries that are the worst violators of religious freedom,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza. US lawmakers argue against delisting Nigeria “One of our founding ideals as a nation is to allow citizens the freedom to practice religion and to maintain that freedom to do so. “As a result of this core value, we as a nation are compelled to promote religious freedom around the world and point it out when other counties are not,” the lawmakers explained in the letter. “We are deeply troubled by your recent decision to remove Nigeria from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). “This decision is egregious. Your action undermines the United States’ commitment to protecting international religious freedom. “Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa, is home to 80 million professing Christians. Millions of Christians living in Nigeria face some of the worst acts of persecution, causing many to flee as a result of the devastating violence. “Since June of 2015, there have been 11,000 Nigerian Christians killed by jihadists, radicalized herdsmen from the Fulani tribe and the emerging Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. 1,202 of those killings happened in the first six months of 2020. “In 2021 alone, an estimated 3,462 Christians have been killed. “We find this decision highly suspect, as it came just days before your trip to Africa to meet with Nigerian officials. It also goes directly against the 2021 recommendations for Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) and Special Watch List (SWL) by United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). “Your refusal to listen to the recommendations of the USCIRF and blatant disregard to the atrocities in Nigeria lacks necessary condemnation to those currently committing religious persecution abroad. “We implore you to reconsider this decision.” The 12 members of the US House of Representatives who signed the letter are: Mary Miller Bob Good Mark Green Ralph Norman Gus Bilirakis Vicky Hartzler Tracy Mann Mo Brooks Michael Guest Brian Babin Louie Gohmert Laurent Boebert Dan Bishop Michael Cloud Ogebe commends lawmakers’ action US Nigeria Law Group (USNLG) Managing Partner, Emmanuel Ogebe, who is based in Washington, commended the lawmakers for urging Blinken to reverse the religious persecution delisting because it gives Abuja the “license to kill”. He thanked the Congressmen and women who took “the bold step” of calling out Blinken for his “ill-advised” removal of Nigeria from the list of religious persecutors. Ogebe said: “Probably no policy position of the US government on Nigeria has attracted more universal condemnation than this. “Indeed, the bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom took the rare step of condemning a fellow US government office – the U.S. State Department. “Even members of the British House of Lords in the U.K. have similarly lampooned Secretary Blinken’s actions as have NGOs all over US, Europe and Nigeria. “The action was baseless and amounts to voodoo diplomacy as even during my latest visit to Nigeria last week, over a dozen Muslim worshippers were reportedly killed and women raped in mosques while dozens of hapless people were burnt alive in cars. “Similarly, in addition to the failure of most states to complete their own #EndSARs investigations, even Lagos state that was hailed for exposing the truth of the Lekki massacre has now backpedaled and shot itself in the foot by denying that there was indeed a massacre. “Accordingly, … Blinken is urged to rethink the license to kill given to Nigeria especially as we mark the 5th anniversary of the Shiites massacre in Kaduna state. “It is not too late to get it right, and Blinken owes it to humanity and himself not to screw up again this year.”

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