Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ) & For Rep Frank Wolf address Nigerian Americans
Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ) & For Rep Frank Wolf address Nigerian Americans who gathered in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness for H.Res.82
WASHINGTON, April 28, 2023 (Newswire.com) - Nigeria is experiencing an escalation in religious violence. A recent report highlights that Nigeria accounts for 89% of martyred Christians worldwide, but the U.S. State Department excluded Nigeria from the Countries of Particular Concern list. Nigeria's recent election has increased concerns about the commitment to religious freedom and the protection of minority groups, including Muslims.
Representative Chris Smith stressed the importance of H.Res.82 and was joined by former Congressman Frank Wolf, and former Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Destro. They agreed this administration's policy regarding Nigeria is a failure, adding if this was happening anywhere in Europe, the U.S. government would react differently.
As a Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Wolf upholds USCIRF's strong support for CPC designation and appointing a Special Envoy. He implored the Nigerian American leaders in attendance, who represent thousands of Nigerian Americans, to contact their legislative leaders and have them sign this resolution so we can quickly stop the killings in Nigeria.
Rep Smith stresses that the Nigerian people are the ones suffering - mainly Christians but also Muslims. He wants the Nigerian government to be held accountable and the CPC designation will address religious violence and promote stability. It was learned that there are additional co-sponsors: French Hill (R-AR), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), and Jake LaTurner (R-KS).
The delegation of Nigerian Americans addressed the impunity fostered by the Nigerian government's inability or unwillingness to stop the slaughter and prosecute the killers. "If we do not act now, there will be global implications," acknowledged Stephen Enada, President of International Committee on Nigeria. He added, "There will be increased refugees fleeing persecution, inflation, famine due to farmers unable to farm, and worshipers unable to worship in peace."
There remains ongoing religious violence and political challenges in Nigeria.
- Over 5,000 Christians were killed in Nigeria in 2022 and over 50,000 have been killed since 2009. The U.S. State Department's 2021 IRF Report highlights pervasive violence involving predominantly Muslim herders and mostly Christian farmers, with an estimated 10,399 deaths from violent conflict.
- The 2023 Nigerian elections raised concerns about religious diversity and the protection of minorities. President-elect Bola Tinubu broke with tradition by choosing a vice president of the same faith. The US has criticized the election process, while still congratulating Tinubu.
Original Source: Nigerian Americans Seek Co-Sponsors for H.Res.82 and Advocate for the Persecuted in Nigeria