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US stance on Nigeria’s religious freedom indicate ignorance- FG

By News Desk

After reading United States of America Government report on religious freedom, the Federal Government has rejected US designation of Nigeria as a country that engages in or tolerates severe violations of religious freedom, describing the stance of the government as share display of ignorance and been misled by opposition parties.

According to the Federal Government, US iniquitous tag of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration stems from an orchestrated narrative that has long been discredited.

In a statement issued on Sunday by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in Abuja, said good people of Nigeria enjoy unfettered freedom to practise their religion, sying politicians from the opposition parties for latching on to religion as their trump card during and after last general elections.

He said it is unfortunate that the US fell for the antics of the discontented and the unpatriotic few, who will not hesitate to hang
Nigeria out to dry on the altar of their inordinate ambition and their sheer animosity towards the Administration.

Muhammed said the Nigerian government is acutely aware of how the political opposition, in particular, had spared no resources in
deriving political capital from the various security challenges in the country.

”The deliberate effort to give religious coloration to the farmers-herders clashes and the Boko Haram insurgency, in particular, has undoubtedly helped to mislead the US into concluding that the government is doing little or nothing to guarantee religious freedom
in the country.

”But, as we have always said, the farmers-herders clashes have nothing to do with religion but everything to do with environmental
and socio-economic realities. The religious tag given to the clashes has no basis in fact but is very convenient for those who will very
easily give the dog a bad name just to hang it. On its part, the Boko Haram terrorists are extreme fanatics who do not subscribe to the
tenets of any religion, in spite of their pretence to Islamic adherence,” he added.

Mohammed said the good news is that the government has succeeded in curbing the farmers-herders clashes through the
implementation of proactive and multi-dimensional strategy, which is yielding remarkable results, just as it has largely defeated the Boko Haram insurgency.

On El-Zakzaky issue, the minister, while referring to the report, described the case as purely a criminal matter, which is being handled by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The Minister said while the government welcomes constructive criticism from any quarter, it rejects any attempt to sow the seed of mistrust among the various religious groups in the country.

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