Islamic human rights organisation, Muslim Rights Concern, has said that the government of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has never repressed religions in Nigeria.
MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, in a chat with The PUNCH, said the United States added Nigeria to its list of religious violators in 2020 because of the “lies” it got from some Nigerians.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a statement last Wednesday, had blacklisted Russia, China and eight other countries as religious violators, leaving out Nigeria which was placed on the same list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ on the issue of freedom of religion in 2020.
Blinken, who was later in Abuja last Thursday and Friday, reportedly told the Buhari that the delisting of Nigeria from the list of religious violators was based on facts.
Many Nigerians and groups including the Christian Association of Nigeria, have since faulted the removal of Nigeria from the list, insisting that Christians are still being persecuted in the country amid an alleged plot to Islamise Nigeria.
However, the MURIC director said both Christians and Muslims are being killed in the country.
“We have a tragedy facing both Christians and Muslims squarely. Is it the government that is killing Christians? Who are those killing Christians in the South-East? To the North-East where there are insurgency and banditry, the killers don’t discriminate; they attack Muslims and Christians,” he said.
Akintola added, “Nigeria was never a religious violator. The administration we have now was never a religious violator. Government at the federal level, our President has never had the opportunity to abuse religion, to use it arbitrarily.
“It is just that some Nigerians want to get at certain people in power by all means, And so, they can concoct any lies and take to the US and because the US is always hungry for information about other countries, the US would swallow it hook line and sinker.”
“No Nigerian should go outside the country to write negative reports or use undue influence to speak negatively about the country,” he added.