Awka – The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), says the association is at a loss on the data or statistics used by the United States government in delisting Nigeria from the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) on religious freedom.
CAN made this known in a press statement released Saturday and signed by its President, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle.
Recall that the U.S government last week, removed Nigeria from its list of countries that violate religious freedom.
The development was contained in a release conveyed by U.S. Secretary of state Antony Blinken.
According to the CAN statement, the US government did not contact CAN when they listed Nigeria among the countries of Particular Concern on religious freedom, neither did they seek the association’s opinion before removing Nigeria from the list, saying that if CAN had been involved they would have been able to compare the statistics between the periods on the issue of freedom of religion in Nigeria.
The CAN president lamented that Christians had faced and are still facing persecution from ISWAP and the Boko Haram Islamic Group till date, “as they ferociously attack churches, killing and kidnapping worshippers for ransom especially in the North Central and the North Eastern part of the country.”
“Some of the challenges christians face in many states in the North include, non-reversal of policies which deny christians the Certificate of Occupancy to build churches in the country, non-teaching of Christian Religious Studies in public schools, christian students being denied admission into government-owned universities to study courses like Law and Medicine, among others and militants not made to face the wrath of the law,” he also revealed.
He also alleged that what happens in Nigeria, is a situation where state resources are used to fund the country’s membership in all the International Islamic organisations without being part of any international Christian organization.
While urging the US government to let the world know what has changed on the issue of religious freedom and persecution in Nigeria, CAN noted that these issues of religious persecution and discrimination will be discussed at the forthcoming Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) meeting so as to douse religious tension and foster harmonious relationship between religious adherents in Nigeria.