Congressman tasks U.S. agency, FG on security of Christians in M’Belt
As the United States Assistant Secretary for Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor Nagy visits Africa, a member of the U.S. Congress, Mark Meadows, has urged him to secure the Nigerian government’s commitment to protecting the lives and property of the Christians in the Middle Belt.
Nagy is visiting Africa to promote enhanced trade and commercial ties, among others.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of State, Meadows said as a member of the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he believed Africa’s strategic importance to the United States is both clear and growing.
“Our engagement throughout the continent is helping to increase prosperity, secure peace and improve security, especially in the fight against terrorism.“Nigeria, for instance, is on the frontline in fighting radical Islamic terrorism, and the U.S.’s engagement with the Nigerian government has yielded significant results. This makes the Assistant Secretary Nagy’s visit all the more important.
“While our bilateral relationship has been mutually beneficial, we must continue to work toward human rights advancements. I am concerned by reports of ongoing persecution of Christians in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. In the first half of 2018, an independent report from the International Crisis Group cited 1300 deaths in the Middle Belt region- roughly six times the number killed by Boko Haram- between conflicts among herders and farmers. Vice President Mike Pence rightly highlighted these concerns at the World Summit in defence of p ersecuted Christians, noting that Nigeria Christians face ‘intimidation, imprisonment, forced conversion, abuse, assault or worse…”
To further underscore the importance of the Department of State’s visit to advance religious freedom, the Congressman said President Donald Trump administration had reaffirmed to the world America’s unrelenting commitment to ensuring that people of all faiths live safely and free from political, religious, and social oppression.
According to Meadows, the results of the Nagy’s trip, including any suggestions, will be crucial for improved cooperation between the United States and Nigeria to protect religious liberty.
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