Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today condemned recent instances of violence against religious communities in Nigeria, including attacks on Christians in Kano state and Kaduna state and violence against Shi’a Muslims in Abuja.
“Vulnerable religious communities in Nigeria are under attack,” said USCIRF Commissioner Tony Perkins. “We are devastated by news of these recent attacks and outraged that the Nigerian government has not done more to prevent this violence and bring justice to the perpetrators.”
On Sunday, September 26 a violent mob in Kano State attacked and killed Christian Reverend Yohanna Shuaibu, in retaliation for his alleged involvement in converting a local member of a Muslim family to Christianity. That same day, armed militants attacked two Christian communities in Kaduna state, killing 49 people. Kaduna State is a Muslim majority state where Christian communities have borne the brunt of a vicious ethnoreligious conflict for many years. On Tuesday, September 28, Nigerian security forces reportedly shot and killed eight Shi’a Muslims in their response to a Shi’a procession marking the holiday of Arbaeen.
“Three attacks on vulnerable religious communities in three days is unacceptable,” said USCIRF Commissioner Frederick A. Davie. “We call on the U.S. Department of State to redesignate Nigeria a country of particular concern for engaging in and tolerating these systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of international religious freedom.”
USCIRF recently addressed the topic of religious freedom conditions in Nigeria on an episode of the USCIRF Spotlight Podcast. In its 2021 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. Department of State redesignate Nigeria as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, and Boko Haram as an “entity of particular concern,” or EPC. USCIRF has also produced recent analyses on religious freedom conditions in Nigeria and violations committed by militant Islamist groups in northern Nigeria.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion or belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at MediaUSCIRF.gov.