Tayo AFOLABI

 

International Religious Freedom Roundtable, (IRFR), a human rights organisation,  is seeking audience with the United States and Britain to intervene to to discuss the issues that bedevil Nigeria.

The request was contained in IRFR’s petitions to the United States Embassy and the British High Commission.

The organisation is also demanding a roundtable meeting with victims of terrorism across the country.

It wondered why Nigeria was delisted from countries with particular concern by the United States regardless of the continued religious killings, especially in the Northern part of the country.

A representative of the IRFR, Olasunmbo Ojumo, in an interview with journalists, after submitting the petitions to the United States Embassy and the British High Commission, said, “The petition is to seek an audience with the representatives of the United States government and the British High Commission to discuss these issues that bedevil Nigeria at this time, so that victims of terrorism and insecurity can come and tell their stories.

“And you know that Nigeria was delisted from the countries of particular concern, so we need answers on why Nigeria was delisted, and several issues arising.”

The leader of the IRFR, Philip Akpavie, said, “The letters seek attention for a roundtable with the United States Embassy and the British High Commission having a relationship with Nigeria.

“By extension, what we are saying is that Nigeria be held accountable, and these international bodies as well as nations also need to understand that Nigeria is critically in need of their interventions and support, because there is no nation that can succeed on its own.”

The petition read in part, “Dear Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard and High Commissioner Catriona Laing CB.

“We, the undersigned, are concerned youth from Nigeria who are from various regions in Nigeria. We write to you to raise serious concerns about the ongoing violations occurring in our country, notably: religious freedom, human rights and freedom of expression.

“We humbly request that you host a Town Hall with us, as concerned signatories.

“We would like to share our shock and disappointment when the US government removed Nigeria from the list of Countries of Particular Concern.

“The CPC designation obligated the Nigerian government to be accountable to the global community.

“The ongoing violence, kidnappings and deaths occurring in the Middle Belt and Northern Nigeria have been occurring for over 20 years and the global community seems to be silent.

“Boko Haram/ISWAP/Ansaru, along with Fulani militants and so-called bandits are being joined by foreign-fighters leading to an international problem.

“Extremism and instability have spread across Nigeria with armed Fulani militants devastating lives, farms and villages, majority of whom are Christians.

“Leah Sharibu remains in captivity, as do hundreds of other women, girls and boys, while the government is unable or unwilling to do anything. Millions of people are displaced from their homes/communities and living in the IDP camps because of insecurity due to terrorism.

“Over 13 million children (primary to secondary) are afraid or unable to attend school, this disruption of education compounds Nigeria’s insecurity woes.

“Freedom of expression and human rights violations against individuals like Luka Binniyat, Rev Jonah Gangas and Nnamdu Kanu, who were wrongly accused and imprisoned, which served to silence opposition and criticism.

“Additionally, continued abuses against people like Sheik El-Zakzaky and his wife, who, although being released, are unable to leave the country for urgent medical attention because their passports have not been returned.

“EndSARS protest crackdown has lacked accountability and remains inconclusive as Nigerian authorities continue to deny reports and have not ensured that those implicated in abuses against protesters will ever be held accountable.

“We are conveying our discontent with Nigeria’s blatant violation of religious freedom, human rights and freedom of expression, which fall under the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Nigeria is a signatory and must adhere to these international commitments, standards and policies.

“Why did the US Department of State delist Nigeria from a Country of Particular Concern, after less than a year? In April 2021, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom had recommended that Nigeria remains on the list because of the “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.”

 

Tayo AFOLABI

 

International Religious Freedom Roundtable, (IRFR), a human rights organisation,  is seeking audience with the United States and Britain to intervene to to discuss the issues that bedevil Nigeria.

The request was contained in IRFR’s petitions to the United States Embassy and the British High Commission.

The organisation is also demanding a roundtable meeting with victims of terrorism across the country.

It wondered why Nigeria was delisted from countries with particular concern by the United States regardless of the continued religious killings, especially in the Northern part of the country.

A representative of the IRFR, Olasunmbo Ojumo, in an interview with journalists, after submitting the petitions to the United States Embassy and the British High Commission, said, “The petition is to seek an audience with the representatives of the United States government and the British High Commission to discuss these issues that bedevil Nigeria at this time, so that victims of terrorism and insecurity can come and tell their stories.

“And you know that Nigeria was delisted from the countries of particular concern, so we need answers on why Nigeria was delisted, and several issues arising.”

The leader of the IRFR, Philip Akpavie, said, “The letters seek attention for a roundtable with the United States Embassy and the British High Commission having a relationship with Nigeria.

“By extension, what we are saying is that Nigeria be held accountable, and these international bodies as well as nations also need to understand that Nigeria is critically in need of their interventions and support, because there is no nation that can succeed on its own.”

The petition read in part, “Dear Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard and High Commissioner Catriona Laing CB.

“We, the undersigned, are concerned youth from Nigeria who are from various regions in Nigeria. We write to you to raise serious concerns about the ongoing violations occurring in our country, notably: religious freedom, human rights and freedom of expression.

“We humbly request that you host a Town Hall with us, as concerned signatories.

“We would like to share our shock and disappointment when the US government removed Nigeria from the list of Countries of Particular Concern.

“The CPC designation obligated the Nigerian government to be accountable to the global community.

“The ongoing violence, kidnappings and deaths occurring in the Middle Belt and Northern Nigeria have been occurring for over 20 years and the global community seems to be silent.

“Boko Haram/ISWAP/Ansaru, along with Fulani militants and so-called bandits are being joined by foreign-fighters leading to an international problem.

“Extremism and instability have spread across Nigeria with armed Fulani militants devastating lives, farms and villages, majority of whom are Christians.

“Leah Sharibu remains in captivity, as do hundreds of other women, girls and boys, while the government is unable or unwilling to do anything. Millions of people are displaced from their homes/communities and living in the IDP camps because of insecurity due to terrorism.

“Over 13 million children (primary to secondary) are afraid or unable to attend school, this disruption of education compounds Nigeria’s insecurity woes.

“Freedom of expression and human rights violations against individuals like Luka Binniyat, Rev Jonah Gangas and Nnamdu Kanu, who were wrongly accused and imprisoned, which served to silence opposition and criticism.

“Additionally, continued abuses against people like Sheik El-Zakzaky and his wife, who, although being released, are unable to leave the country for urgent medical attention because their passports have not been returned.

“EndSARS protest crackdown has lacked accountability and remains inconclusive as Nigerian authorities continue to deny reports and have not ensured that those implicated in abuses against protesters will ever be held accountable.

“We are conveying our discontent with Nigeria’s blatant violation of religious freedom, human rights and freedom of expression, which fall under the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Nigeria is a signatory and must adhere to these international commitments, standards and policies.

“Why did the US Department of State delist Nigeria from a Country of Particular Concern, after less than a year? In April 2021, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom had recommended that Nigeria remains on the list because of the “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.”

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