The Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) has responded to the designation of Nigeria as a country of concern on religious freedom by the United States Government.
This was contained in a press release signed by Ferdinand Nwonye, the Spokesperson to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday, 8 December 2020.
“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to an announcement made by the U.S Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo stating that the government of the United States of America has designated Nigeria as a ‘country of concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998’.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria received the news with surprise, 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.
“Furthermore, section 38 of the Constitution guarantees that every Nigerian citizen is entitle 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 Nigerian Government remains committed to ensuring the respect and protection of all citizen’s right to freedom and promotion of religious tolerance and harmony.
“The Ministry wishes to assure that the Nigerian Government will engage the U.S Government to express its displeasure and request that Nigeria be removed from the list.”