President Muhammadu Buhari

The United States government on Friday issued a warning to Nigeria and two other countries over what it perceives as lack of religious freedom and persecution of minority groups.

The State Department stated this in its latest report on religious freedom on which minorities in Nigeria had reported discrimination including limitations on free expression and in obtaining government employment.

The State Department’s report pointed to the lack of accountability in violent crackdowns on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a pro-Iran Shiite group and the arrest of a Christian man for attempting to convert a Muslim girl.

The State Department added Cuba, Nicaragua and Nigeria to a watch list of countries which could face a full designation if they do not improve their records.

Sudan was the only nation removed from the State Department’s annual list of ‘countries of particular concern’ which are subject to sanctions if they do not improve in protecting religious liberty.

Nine countries, including Pakistan, Cuba, Russia and China remained on the blacklist which was designated in 2018 after years of US hesitation over concerns on the treatment of minorities.