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Catholics back U.S. over placement of Nigeria on watch list

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The Catholic Diocese of Enugu has expressed support for the United States (U.S.) placing of Nigeria on its special watch list of countries with “severe violation of religious freedom.”

Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga told journalists in Enugu while delivering his Christmas message that the U.S. was trying to highlight what people already knew for a fact, stressing that the observation was in order.

He noted that insecurity in the country revolved around a set of religion, which he said, had continued to perpetrate evil against the other religions.

“Let there be religious tolerance. Before the U.S. begins to make any assertions, the country must have accessed and gathered information to begin to say that.

“We are living in Nigeria, we don’t need further assessment because we know it. I know what we have experienced even as a Church here, before we even talk of the Church in the North.

“To build a Church in the North East or North West, you have to make a lot of sacrifices and at times telling white lies in order to build a Church whereas here you can always build a mosque wherever you want to.

“So why wouldn’t it be so if people in the South are that liberal to allow Muslims to build their worship centres, why don’t they do the same in the North.

Bishop Onaga who noted that religious intolerance became more pronounced from 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, added, “If a group thinks it wants to really convert the people, such conversion should be through conviction and not by force.

“Unfortunately, we are operating with two different policies and principles. Let it be clear that Christians and Muslims seem to have different policies in terms of conversion. We do not want to convert people at all cost including lives.

“We don’t do it in Christianity and moderate Muslims don’t do that – these new set of Muslims, I must say, lend weight to people feeling that the problem of Nigeria is more religious than political.”


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