THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has kicked against the removal of Nigeria from the United States’ list of religious violators.
CAN President Samson Ayokunle faulted the US government’s decision in a statement released on Saturday.
Ayokunle noted that Christians still face persecution at the hands of terrorist groups in Nigeria, adding that nothing has changed in the past one year to justify the country’s removal from the list.
“Christians had faced and are still facing persecution from ISWAP and the Boko Haram Islamic Group till today as before. These are the people who said their agenda was to wipe away Christianity from Nigeria and to plant Islam as the only religion from the North down to the Atlantic Ocean in the South.
“That agenda with the killing of Christians has not stopped till today and Nigerians are living witnesses,” he said.
He also noted that there were no available statistics to determine the basis for Nigeria’s delisting.
The CAN president observed that while the killings in Northern Nigeria had spread to include non-Christians, worshippers and places of worship were still being attacked by terrorists.
“Up till today, our government is still funding the membership of Nigeria in all the international Islamic organisations like Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and its allies without being part of any international Christian organisation.
“Once again, we urge the US government to help us by allowing us to know what has changed between the time our country was put in the list of ‘countries of particular concern’ and now,” he said.
Earlier this week, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken had announced that the US has delisted Nigeria from its religious freedom blacklist.
Speaking during a two-day visit to Nigeria which ended on Friday, he said the delisting was based on facts.
However, the decision has been largely criticised across the country.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) had also written the US with respect to the removal, describing it as a rude shock.
HURIWA, in the letter, noted that the removal of Nigeria from the list contradicted the US government’s declaration of Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) as entities of particular concern.