The U.S. Department of State recently removed Nigeria from a list it maintains called “Countries of Particular Concern,” the designation for nations that permits terrorists or the state itself to kill Christians and other religious minorities.
Wendy Wright of Christian Freedom International tells American Family News the decision is shameful because, in reality, there is no excuse for doing so in a country that has buried tens of thousands because they attend church and refuse to convert to Islam.
“There are more Christians killed in Nigeria last year than any other country,” she says. “The violence is rampant against Christians.”
Boko Haram is the fanatical Islamic group that is waging jihad in the northeast region against villagers, churches and schoolchildren. More than 40,000 have been killed in a decade of mass murder and unimaginable slaughter.
The attacks in Nigeria are carried about in the most gruesome manner: at the end of a machete. Two church pastors, in two separate incidents, were hacked to death in September.
In light of that persecution, Wright says it was “disturbing” to learn Nigeria was dropped from the "Concerned" list one day before Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Nigeria’s president and vice president in that country.
According to the State Department’s own “readout” of that meeting, which occurred Nov. 18, Blinken and President Buhari discussed climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular distributing eight million Pfizer and vaccine doses to the country. The U.S. announced in October it is donating 3.5 million doses.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country with 210 million people, is just now approaching 3,000 COVID deaths to date.
According to the State Department’s statement, it appears Blinken did discuss “democratic principles” with Buhari such as peaceful protests and freedom of the press. But it's unclear if a reference to “respect for human rights” in the statement included the U.S. Secretary of State reminding the Nigerian leader that his own people are being hacked to death by their fellow countrymen.