Violence and Religious Freedom in Nigeria – This policy update identifies the ways in which widespread violence by nonstate actors in Nigeria threaten freedom of religion or belief. Examples detailed in the report include militant Islamist group violence, some forms of identity-based violence, mob violence, and violence impacting worship. It also explores the role that poor governance plays in driving much of this violence, as well as the impact on religious freedom of several aggravating factors exacerbating insecurity, including localized religious discrimination, the politicization of religion, and wider demographic and economic trends. The report concludes by highlighting the U.S. government’s responsibility to respond to religious freedom violations and rising atrocity risk in Nigeria, as mandated by U.S. law, and laying out policy response options.
In its 2022 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the U.S. State Department designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations. In June 2022, a USCIRF delegation visited Nigeria and published a USCIRF Spotlight Podcast episode detailing the visit’s findings and takeaways.