The Federal Government has faulted the call made by five United States of America (US) Republican Senators asking for the redesignation of Nigeria as a country of particular concern over alleged persecution of Christians.
The Senators were said to have made the call in a letter to the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken which alleged violation of freedom of Christians’ rights to practice their religion in the country.
While speaking with newsmen on Monday, in London, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said that the call was based on false premise and misunderstanding of what was going on in the country.
Mohammed noted that few months ago Nigeria was taken out of the list of countries of particular concern because it was proven that there is no iota of true in the allegation that Christians or any religion was being persecuted or people were not allowed to practice religion of their choice,
According to the minister, Nigeria does not have a policy that denies people the freedom to practice their religion
Mohammed noted that the Constitution of Nigeria guarantees the right of anybody to practice his or her own faith without molestation and the government has always safeguard the constitutional provision jealously.
He said that most commentators who were not well versed in the politics and happenings in Nigeria took criminalities and communal clashes as issues of religious persecution.
“The country also does not have a policy of violation freedom of religion and it is not true that Nigeria persecute anybody on account of his or her faith.
“Nobody in Nigeria is being persecuted But we have issues of criminality going on and the criminals really do not make distinction of any religion.
“They kidnap for money, they hold people on ransome irrespective of their religion and there are some issues pf communal matters dating back to many years.
“If statistic is to be taken, I can say confidently that as many Muslims as Christians have been victims of these criminals,” he said.
According to the minister, the only known group that target Christians was the Islamic State’s West Africa ProvinceI (SWAP)
He further assured that the federal government had mounted a large scale military operations to wipe out the criminals and that it was yielding results.