House Pushes for Tougher Action Against Nigeria's Persecution of Christians

House Pushes for Tougher Action Against Nigeria's Persecution of Christians

A bipartisan effort in the House Foreign Affairs Committee is gaining momentum as it advances a resolution aimed at intensifying pressure on the Nigerian government regarding the widespread persecution of Christians and other minorities within the country.

The resolution, spearheaded by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, seeks to designate Nigeria as a "country of particular concern" (CPC), a move that would trigger additional sanctions. Additionally, it urges the Biden administration to appoint a special U.S. envoy to Nigeria tasked with monitoring and reporting on incidents of persecution.

Advocates of the resolution, including Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADF), argue that adding Nigeria to the CPC list would serve as a powerful tool to compel the Nigerian government to address the persecution effectively.

Nigeria has been under scrutiny for years due to reports of violence against Christians, with recent data from Open Doors International indicating that a staggering 82% of Christians killed for their faith in 2023 were in Nigeria.

Bishop Wilfred Anagbe of the Diocese of Makurdi has described the situation as a Christian "genocide," with radical Islamic groups allegedly seeking to systematically eradicate the Christian population from Nigeria.

Despite mounting evidence of persecution, the Biden administration has not included Nigeria on the CPC list for the past three years, a decision that has drawn criticism, especially in the wake of deadly attacks on Nigerian Christians over the Christmas period.

Rep. Smith expressed frustration, accusing the Nigerian government of enabling widespread violence through indifference and failure to protect victims and prosecute terrorists.

Sean Nelson of ADF emphasized the urgency of the situation, stressing that no one should face persecution for their faith. He hopes that the resolution's passage will not only prompt a change in the Biden administration's approach but also send a strong signal of support to the victims of persecution in Nigeria.

The resolution is set to move forward for a vote in the House, although a date has yet to be determined.

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