The Federal Government has reacted to the addition of Nigeria to the Special Watch-List (SWL) of countries that allow severe violations of religious freedom.
Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed who reacted to the addition of Nigeria to the SWL alleged that the United States Government has been misled by propaganda on farmer-herder conflicts and the Boko Haram insurgency which he claimed led to the addition of Nigeria in the religious intolerant country list.
Lai Mohammed insisted that Nigeria will welcome constructive criticism and reject any attempt to sow seeds of mistrust among the various religious groups in the country. He added that Nigerians enjoy the freedom to practise their religion in the country.
“The deliberate effort to give religious coloration to the farmers-herders clashes and the Boko Haram insurgency, in particular, has undoubtedly helped to mislead the US into concluding that the government is doing little or nothing to guarantee religious freedom in the country.
“But, as we have always said, the farmers-herders clashes have nothing to do with religion but everything to do with environmental and socio-economic realities.
“The religious tag given to the clashes has no basis in fact, but is very convenient for those who will very easily give the dog a bad name just to hang it.
“On its part, the Boko Haram terrorists are extreme fanatics who do not subscribe to the tenets of any religion, in spite of their pretence to Islamic adherence.”