The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has said the Federal Government will engage the United States to express its displeasure and request that Nigeria be removed from the list of countries of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
The Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, in a statement issued in Abuja, said the decision by the United States to include Nigeria on the list came as a surprise.
“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to an announcement made by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, stating that the Government of the United States of America has designated Nigeria as a ‘country of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998’.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria received the news with surprise, that a secular country under a democratic government would be so designated. Although the Nigerian State is multi-religious and multi-ethnic, the Nigerian constitution expressly states that the Government shall not adopt any religion as State religion,” Nwonye said.
Nwonye further said section 38 of the Nigerian Constitution guaranteed that every Nigerian citizen is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his/her religion or belief and freedom to manifest and propagate his/her religion or belief.
Nwonye added that religious liberty in Nigeria had never been in question, insisting that any claim contrary to that was completely false and untrue.
“The Nigerian Government remains committed to ensuring the respect and protection of all citizens’ right to religious freedom and promotion of religious tolerance and harmony,” Nwonye also said.