State Dept. blind to Nigerian Christians' suffering

State Dept. blind to Nigerian Christians' suffering

State Dept. blind to Nigerian Christians' suffering

Because of inaction by the U.S. government, an organization that deals with persecution is calling for intense prayer for Nigeria.

In December 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added Nigeria to the State Department's list of "countries of particular concern" (CPC) – a category that permits the United States to take certain action. But just 11 months later, the State Department under Antony Blinken removed the western African country from that list. More recently – to the consternation of human rights and persecution organizations – State has again refused to place Nigeria on the list.

AFN spoke with Wendy Wright of Christian Freedom International about that decision.

"What we're seeing is that the violence [against Christians in Nigeria] is at least the same if not increased … and so what has the State Department done? To our great disappointment, the State Department continues to not list Nigeria as a country of particular concern," she laments.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom – a bipartisan group – also expressed its displeasure about the removal of Nigeria from the CPC list, arguing it was "rightfully placed" on that list in 2020.

In its latest "World Watch List," Open Doors puts Nigeria at #6 among the top 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. It was ranked #7 in 2022, and #9 a year before that. The watchdog group also reports that in 2022 alone, more than 5,000 Christians were murdered in Nigeria and over 4,700 were abducted.

Wright, Wendy (CFI) Wright

Wright is calling for prayer as an election for president approaches (February 25) in that country. "Pray for a new government," she requests. "Sadly, the political organizations in Nigeria are very heavily weighted toward Muslim candidates."

In fact, there is only one Christian running for the office.

Christian Freedom International is working to help Nigerian Christians, including widows and orphans who have lost their father and husband by vicious attacks from Muslim terrorists; and providing trauma counseling for youth.

Three members of the U.S. House (two Republicans and one Democrat) are sponsors of a resolution (HRes82) expressing the need to again designate Nigeria as a country of particular concern "for engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom." The resolution was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 31.