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Nigeria bashes US over placement on watchlist

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The Nigerian government has accused the United States meddling in its internal affairs and overlooking the myriad of challenges in America.

“In international relations, you respect the internal affairs of other countries,” Nigeria’s presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in an interview on Channels Television, Sunday Politics, programme.

“The U.S. itself has enough to chew…solving its own problems not to talk of poke-nosing into that of another country.”

United State authorities Friday, December 20 said it has placed Nigeria on a Special Watch List for tolerating “severe violations of religious freedom.”

“No country, entity, or individual will be able to persecute people of faith with impunity,” United States’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo said. “These religious freedom designations show that when faith is attacked, we will act.”

The US accused the Nigerian government of tolerating violence and discrimination based on religion or belief, and suppression of the freedom to manifest religion or belief.

United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also alleged that “The Nigerian federal government failed to implement effective strategies to prevent or stop such violence or to hold perpetrators accountable.”

It said religious sectarian violence in Nigeria increased in 2018, with Muslims and Christians being attacked based on their religious and ethnic identity.

But Adesina said the claims were untrue and asked the US to face its own issues and stop acting as “policemen of the world.”

“No man, no country, nobody has appointed them the policeman of the world, let them face their own issues,” Adesina said.

Prior to Adesina’s reaction, Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohammed said Nigeria ought not to be in the list of countries stifling religious freedom globally.

Mohammed accused the US of attempting to sow the seed of mistrust among the various religious groups in Nigeria.

The minister said it was 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 Buhari-led administration.”