THE United States has labeled Nigeria as a ‘country of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998’.
Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of state made this known in an interface with the press.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has frowned at the US position, saying it received the announcement as a rude shock.
A statement signed by the Ministry’s spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye said, Nigeria is miffed 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.”
He further explained that, “section 38 of the Constitution guarantees 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.
“Religious liberty in Nigeria has never been in question, therefore any claim contrary to that is completely false and untrue.”
The statement reiterated the Nigeria’s Government commitment to ensuring the respect and protection of all citizens’ right to religious freedom and promotion of religious tolerance and harmony.
He assured that the Government will take the necessary steps to engage the United States Government to express its displeasure and request that Nigeria be removed from the list.
Ferdinand NwonyeSpokesperson,Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja Tuesday 8, December 2020