The Nation Online | Dec. 21, 2019
The United States of America has placed Nigeria on a special watch list of countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.”
A statement on Friday by the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo explained Nigeria was added to the list alongside Cuba, Nicaragua and Sudan.
The United States of America also designated Boko Haram as an Entity of Particular Concern alongside al-Nusra Front, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qa’ida, al-Shabab, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Khorasan and the Taliban.
Other countries that have been on the list under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 include Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The US Department of State also renewed the placement of Comoros, Russia and Uzbekistan on the Special Watch List (SWL).
Nigeria may have joined the list because of the clampdown on Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shiite Muslims as well as the killing of Christians in the north.
The Department explained: “These designations underscore the United States’ commitment to protect those who seek to exercise their freedom of religion or belief.