The United State of America yesterday removed Nigeria from its list of countries with religious freedom concerns, just a day before Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in the country as part of a tour of Africa.
Mr Blinken is to arrive Abuja on Thursday, where he is expected to meet with Nigerian President, General Muhammadu Buhari and give a speech on U.S. Africa policy.
Mr Blinken made an annual announcement yesterday of the countries on the list, including Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries of particular concern.
He also placed Algeria, Comoros, Cuba, and Nicaragua on a watch list for religious freedom, and designated armed groups, including Islamic State and several of its affiliates, as entities of concern.
Nigeria was added to the list for the first time in 2020.
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment, and it was unclear if the designation was related to the secretary’s travel.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, USCIRF, in April recommended that Nigeria remain on the list, citing “violence by militant Islamists and other non-state armed actors, as well as discrimination, arbitrary detentions, and capital blasphemy sentences by state authorities” in the country.
We urge the State Department to reconsider its designations based on facts presented in its own reporting,” Chair Nadine Maenza said, referring to the department’s report on international religious freedom in May, which cited religious freedom concerns in Nigeria.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has said the suspension of Twitter has not been lifted because the company has met 10 out of the 12 conditions given it.
The government however raised the hope of Nigerians that it is a matter of time before all issues with Twitter are resolved.
But it clarified that the suspension of Twitter had nothing to do with issues bordering on President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the clarifications while responding to a question from a participant at Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris.
Most investors at the forum were eager about the circumstances behind the suspension of Twitter.
Mohammed, who spoke in fluent French, caught the audience unawares.
But Mohammed took time to explain why the suspension of Twitter was not yet lifted.
He said: “I want to categorically say that Twitter was not banned by Nigera, it was only suspended. So, Twitter was never banned, it was suspended.
“Also, the suspension has nothing to do with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The correspondences between us and Twitter have reached advanced stage. I want to say that the correspondences and the exchanges have been fruitful.
“But we have a few more issues to resolve. Out of about 12 conditions, Twitter has been able to meet 10.
“Very soon, all issues will be resolved in a way that it will be good for both our country and Twitter.”
The former senator that represented the good people of Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone, Senator Shehu Sani has once again spoken. Senator Sani is one Nigerian politician who always speaks out when there is a need for him to do so.
According to a recent tweet he made on his verified twitter handle, the former senator made it known that each time Nigerians ask the President Buhari to sack a minister, such Nigerians will remember that they(FG) don’t work by their standards, but by the standards of the governenmt.
It should be recalled that several Nigerians have demanded that President Buhari should sack the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed over the comments he made during and after the last year’s EndSARS protest.
On the other hand, I really think that some ministers should be sacked. But with the way things are looking now, I don’t think that the president is ready to do that. But let’s watch and see what will happen in the future.
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