Solutions: US Policy Can Help via CPC
Nigeria as Country of Particular Concern
There was shock and disappointment when the US removed Nigeria from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). As Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy, Nigeria is crucial to the stability of Western Africa, Europe, and the United States. Rising violence and terrorism committed by Boko Haram and Fulani militants throughout the country threaten this stability and the lives of thousands. ICON stands for freedom of religion and the eradication of terrorism and is calling the United States to return Nigeria to the status of CPC as this will enforce global accountability on the atrocities and prevent a global humanitarian crisis.
We ask that the US government to designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC)
Specifically for the purpose of coordinating an adequate response to the crises in Nigeria.
To help counter the increasing violence in Nigeria, which jeopardize the stability of Nigeria, Europe, and the United States.
Nigeria is of a strategic interest to the United States, as it stands at the intersection of North Africa and Sub Saharan African. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and is one of the top 25 most populous globally. As the largest economy in Africa, it holds considerable weight in African politics and business, but it has the highest social hostilities around religion.
The situation in Nigeria threatens to undermine its stability and could result in decreased trade between Nigerian and global companies, as well as start a mass influx of refugees escaping the violence. It is of vital US economic, political, and national security interest to confront the issues that endanger Nigeria today.
In 2020, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) worked with organizations like ICON to designate Nigeria as one of the worst violators of religious freedom. Yet in 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken removed that designation prompting USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza to say, “[We are] especially displeased with the removal of Nigeria from its CPC designation where it was rightfully placed last year … We urge the State Department to reconsider its designations based on facts presented in its own reporting.
Although President Buhari has labelled some of these attacks as “terrorism”, overall, the Nigerian government’s response to the situation is weak. The growing trend of violence we see in these attacks will destabilize the nation if we do not act soon.