Dozens of organizations demand Biden administration relist Nigeria as ‘Country of Particular Concern’

by Will Tubbs

Vicky Arias, FISM News


A coalition of nearly 70 organizations and individuals recently banded together to call on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to redesignate Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” due to the severe religious freedom violations and extreme persecution of Christians that have become routine in the African nation.

A ‘Country of Particular Concern,’ or a CPC, identifies countries that have “’engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ during the reporting period,” as reported by the State Department.

The Trump administration placed Nigeria on the CPC list for the first time in 2020. In 2021, Blinken pulled the country from the list. He provided no explanation for the removal, and his reasoning remains unclear.

On Sept. 19, the coalition sent a letter to Blinken demanding that Nigeria be recognized as a religious freedom violator. The western African nation stands accused of tolerating the targeted killings and kidnappings of Christians. Several members of the UK Parliament, retired U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Christian Freedom International, Christian Solidarity International, and Genocide Watch are among those who signed the letter.

According to Illia Djadi, an Open Doors analyst, “Nigeria is currently one of the scariest places to be a Christian.”

Open Doors, a non-profit organization spotlighting Christian persecution, reports that, in 2021, 4,650 Nigerian Christians were murdered for their faith. According to the report, “every two hours a Nigerian is murdered for their faith. That’s nearly 13 Christians a day [or] 372 a month.” Additionally, Reuters reports “34 separate attacks on church premises so far this year.”

On May 12, 2022, 19-year-old Deborah Samuel was killed for being a Christian.

Prior to her murder, Samuel chatted with other students using an app, called WhatsApp, where she thanked Jesus for helping her on a test. When Samuel refused to delete her post, some of her Muslim classmates flew into a rage.

Samuel was beaten, stoned, and burned for her refusal to deny Christ.

As reported by Reuters, according to a witness, Summayya Usman Inname, “the students used stones and sticks to beat the lady. After being beaten, she was set on fire.”

Charges were brought against only two suspects and have been “condemned by the Nigerian Bar Association as no more than slaps-on-the-wrist,” according to the coalition letter sent to Blinken.

Additionally, Christian Solidarity International reported that, “Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari refused to say that Deborah did not deserve to die. Instead, he warned that ‘Muslims all over the world demand respect for [Islam’s] Holy Prophets.’”

International Christian Concern President Jeff King expressed frustration with the Nigerian government.

“Where is any action? The Nigerian government gives these attacks lip service without any meaningful response,” King said. “Where is the outcry?…In Nigeria, the military, the police, and the intelligence agencies are all controlled by Muslims. This, coupled with a twenty-year lack of response by these agencies, should naturally lead to deeper questioning by the world community.”

Nigeria is the sixth most populous country in the world, with an economy largely dependent upon trade with the United States. According to Newsweek, “the U.S. is [Nigeria’s] key trade and defense partner, with substantial influence over its leadership.”

Redesignating Nigeria as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ could lead to increased economic pressures on the African nation and force its government to finally step in and help Christians who are being persecuted, kidnapped, and slain for their faith.