By Job Osazuwa
Foremost pro-democracy group, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), has expressed worries over the removal of Nigeria from the list of countries with religious freedom concerns, saying the reality on ground did not reflect the action.
The group said in a letter dated November 19, and addressed to US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, by its Executive Director, based in Washington DC, USA, Lloyd Ukwu, that certain policies of President Muhammadu Buhari were fuelling secessionist agitations and disregarding both the Nigerian constitution and International Human Rights norms.
“NADECO is troubled by the sudden turn of events and its seeming blind eye to the consequences. Only recently, a report produced by the Christian charity, Open Doors, announced that North Korea was the overall worst place to be a Christian – but that Nigeria was the most dangerous nation to be a Christian. According to the Pew Research Centre, Nigeria, with more than 80 million Christians has the largest Christian population in Africa.
“The report went further to say that there were more recorded killings of Christians due to their faith in northern Nigeria in 2015 than in the rest of the world put together.
“The reasons for these deaths, according to the charity, is religious cleansing to eradicate Christianity. These findings cannot be disregarded by the US State Department in favour of political expedience or to make nice prior to your official visit.
“Certainly, you cannot believe Nigeria rid itself of the World’s worst religious persecution overnight simply to pave the way for your Africa tour?
“Are we Nigerian indigenes and members of the diaspora so naive as to believe the slaughtering of Christians in Nigeria has quickly been swept under the carpet because of your presence in the country?
“Your policy of looking the other way while Christians are slaughtered in Nigeria is an outrage and sets a callously dangerous precedent exhibiting an immoral and dangerous double-standard of the highest magnitude.”
NADECO urged the US to place Nigeria on the list of countries of particular concern, special watch list countries, entities of particular concern.
Worried by the prevailing religious persecution in Nigeria, the group announced its plans to host an international conference in Washington DC.
The statement revealed that the conference would be presented under the title: “Nigeria at the Crossroads: Restructuring or Dissolution of Nigeria,” holding in March 2022 to deliberate on how to rescue Nigeria from the precipice of political, social, and economic collapse.