US includes Nigeria in religious freedom blacklist
The United States on Monday included Nigeria in its religious freedom blacklist.
This is the first time Washington would put Nigeria on the list which would pave way for potential sanctions if the country fails to improve its record.
Other nations on the blacklist are Eritrea, Myanmar, North Korea, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who disclosed this in a statement, however, did not explain why Nigeria, a country with a delicate balance between Christians and Muslims, was put on the religious blacklist.
Under the US law, countries placed under such designations are known to either engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
Pompeo did not include India, which has a growing relationship with Washington on the list.
The US secretary of state also removed Uzbekistan and Sudan from the second-tier watchlist.
Relations between the US and Sudan have rapidly improved in recent years following the removal of Omar al-Bashir from power and Khartoum’s recent agreement to recognize Israel.