Following the inclusion of Nigeria that the country was engaging in systematic religious freedom violations by the United States, the Federal Government on Tuesday described the allegation as untrue.
Nigeria was part of the countries placed on a religious freedom blacklist.
The government described the allegation as “a case of honest disagreement between the two nations on the causes of violence in Nigeria.”
On Tuesday, the denial was made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement titled, ‘Nigeria denies religious freedom violation allegation’.
He said, “Nigeria does not engage in religious freedom violation, neither does it have a policy of religious persecution. Victims of insecurity and terrorism in the country are adherents of Christianity, Islam and other religions.
“Nigeria jealously protects religious freedom as enshrined in the country’s constitution and takes seriously any infringements in this regard.”
But the Christian Association of Nigeria expressed agitation noting that the blacklisting might attract sanctions.
The Special Assistant, Media and Communications, to the CAN President, Adebayo Oladeji, said this on Tuesday.
He said, “The leadership of CAN is not happy that the US has placed Nigeria on a religious freedom blacklist because of the implications which include possible sanctions if it does not improve its record.
“But at the same time, we are encouraged that the global world is aware of what is happening in the country. Although there is religious freedom in the country, there are a lot of religious persecutions in most of the states of the federation, especially in the Northern part of the country.
“For example, many States like Kano and Jigawa are denying Christians the Certificate of Occupancy, churches are not allowed to purchase lands and they have to be going through individuals to buy lands and even if that is done, they will be denied of the CofO.”
Oladeji added that the “discriminatory policies” is nothing but a religious persecution, stating that mosques were built wherever they desire and no government dared to ask for any document.
He said, “In Education, Christians are not allowed to study courses like Medicine and Law in some universities in the North. Most of the federal owned universities in the North, will not allow Christians to become the Vice Chancellor even if they are qualified.
“A good example is University of Ilorin where in the last 25 years or more, no Christian has been allowed to be its Vice Chancellor.
“About 95 per cent of those who head our security agencies are sharing same faith with the President. In some agencies, Christians are replaced with Muslims. This is what we witness every day.
“The country belongs to every citizen irrespective of their religious affiliations but the government is not interested.”