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December 1, 2021

Nigeria a Curious Omission From Religious Violence List

Biden’s State Department isn’t exactly standing up for human rights among Africans.

If you’ve been a regular connoisseur of world news, it would be no secret to you that Nigeria has been plagued with sectarian violence for close to a decade. Most of the world became aware of this thanks to an incident in which the Islamic terror group Boko Haram kidnapped a school full of teenage girls back in 2014, forcing many of them into becoming unwilling wives to older Muslim men. After the infamous lack of response from the Obama administration, which chose the bold step of employing the power of “hashtag diplomacy,” every so often we’ve continued to detail the ongoing abuse of Christians in the country.

Nigeria is a problem child in that regard because it’s a nation roughly split in half both geographically and population-wise between Christian and Muslim. Muslims tend to inhabit the inland northern half of Nigeria while Christians congregate closer to the southern coast. Moreover, while the Nigerian constitution guarantees a secular nation, a few states in the north have openly adopted Islamic sharia law within their borders. And while we reminded you back then that the Trump administration also found Nigerian violence to be a tough nut to crack, we warned you as well that “the Obama-era retreads who are poised to populate a Biden administration have an even worse track record of success.”

One substantive change by the Trump administration, made mostly at the behest of then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was declaring Nigeria one of 10 “countries of particular concern” (CPC) late last year. But since the announcement came out in the transitional period between the 2020 election and the installation of the Biden regime, the ball was firmly in the latter’s court as to whether Nigeria (or any other nation) would remain on that list this year. As it turned out, the new CPC roster of nations remains at 10; however, Nigeria has been bumped from the list and replaced by Russia. There’s no question Russia is a bad actor, but the list could have been expanded to maintain Nigeria’s place.

While the change from the Biden administration was disappointing enough for Christian advocacy groups, the timing made it look even more suspicious as Secretary of State Antony Blinken planned to visit Nigeria just after the CPC list was released. Representative Chris Smith called it “appalling” that Blinken dropped Nigeria from the list rather than confront Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit for his lack of action in addressing these sectarian concerns.

“It’s a victory for the terrorists — it’s a defeat for anyone concerned with human rights and religious freedom,” argued Frank Wolf, a former congressman who helped write the legislation creating the CPC list in the first place. As we have become painfully aware, if there’s one thing the Biden administration is expert in, it’s handing victory to terrorists.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on in Nigeria as another round of attacks on Christians occurred last week. Say what you will about the erosion of religious liberty in our country, but we are still blessed that we don’t have to endure persecution comparable to that in Nigeria.

Pray that nation’s leadership has a “road to Damascus” moment like Saul of Tarsus did.

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