Nigeria is Blacklisted by the USA
On Monday, the United States placed Nigeria - for the first time, on a religious freedom blacklist; A core issue for the outgoing administration which often counted on strong evangelical Christian support while playing down other human rights concerns among allies.
Frank Tietie, a local human rights lawyer, shares his reaction to the news, "I think it's coming quite a bit late because we are looking at facts that have been on the ground for many years, a situation where religious minorities in this country suffered helplessly, persecuted and the most painful part of it is there hasn’t been that kind of strong commitment on the part of the government."
Nigeria is the base of Boko Haram, Islamist extremists whose 11-year insurgency has taken over 36,000 lives and spread to neighbouring countries.
Anegbe Gideon, a civil servant, takes a defiant stance - believing that national issues should be resolved internally, "Nigeria cannot lay low to the US whatsoever because what binds them is different from what binds us together. We are Africans, they are out there on their own and they cannot force us to dance to their own tune, it is not possible."
A Religious Melting Pot
Isaac Akpegi, a trader, wants more visibility and respect for all Nigerians found within the country's borders, "The sentiment that is in this country is the same one religion, they ((Referring to President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim) didn't even put any other religion. It is only one religion that is ruling and the ruling that they are doing now is bondage to indigenous (tradition) of Nigerians."
As a multi-religious society, Nigeria navigates a delicate balance between Muslims, Christians and others in between. However, the Nigerian people's rising concerns require action for a truly harmonious co-existence.