The Nigerian Government led by Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the inclusion of the country in a recent special watch list released by the U.S Government which describes Nigeria as a country that engages in or tolerates severe violations of religious freedom.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, said the good people of Nigeria enjoy unfettered freedom to practise their religion, and blamed failed politicians and disgruntled elements – some of them supposedly-respected leaders – for latching on to religion as their trump card, especially in the run up to the last general elections, to oust the Buhari Administration.
He said it is 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 Administration.
The Minister said the Nigerian government is acutely aware of how the political opposition in particular, had spared no resources in deriving political capital from the various security challenges in the country.
On the El-Zakzaky issue, which was referred to in the report by the US government, he described it as purely a criminal matter, which is being handled by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The Minister said while the government welcomes constructive criticism from any quarter, it rejects any attempt to sow the seeds of mistrust among the various religious groups in the country.