Religious freedom activists, including a woman who was once sentenced to death for apostasy in Sudan, demonstrated against what they say is ‘genocidal violence ‘taking place in Nigeria as President Muhammadu Buhari spoke at an event last Friday in Washington, Per Second News gathered
The small group of activists held a protest outside the U.S. Institute of Peace as President Buhari delivered remarks at an event titled ” A Conversation with Buhari.”
President Buhari was in Washington, DC for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by the U.S. State Department.
Faith McDonnell, a longtime advocate for human rights in Africa who works with the nonprofit organization Katartismos Global, helped organize the demonstration, according to Persecondnews.com
“It’s particularly egregious that the U.S. Institute of Peace should invite [Buhari] here for a conversation about the state of democracy,” McDonnell asserted.
Mariam Ibraheem, imprisoned in her home country of Sudan for apostasy because she married a Christian American citizen and gave birth to one of her children while in captivity. She was sentenced to death in May 2014 but released a month later under a court order. She now resides in the U.S.
McDonnell and her fellow protesters called on the U.S. State Department to redesignate Nigeria as a “country of particular concern,” a label attached to governments that have “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”
Nigeria was added to the CPC list in 2020 under the Trump administration but was removed from the list in 2021 by the Biden State Department.
McDonnell believes that by extending an invitation to Buhari, the U.S. Institute of Peace acted as “the U.S. Institute of Appeasement.”
Stephen Enada of the International Committee on Nigeria, whose cousin was killed by Fulani in Benue state, offered similar concerns. He insists that “the U.S. government is playing the ostrich game” by welcoming a leader who has overseen “the genocide of his own people.” He characterized the decision to allow Buhari to “come and talk” as “reprehensible.”
International human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe called for Buhari to face prosecution from the International Criminal Court, stressing that he “has no business being in the U.S. right now and giving lectures.”
According to Ogebe, “it is hypocritical of the U.S. to deny the religious crisis in Nigeria” because “hundreds of diplomats are in hotels around D.C.” after fleeing Nigeria due to a terrorist threat.
Per Second News reports that in 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari faulted a report by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom or Belief (APPG) which accused the federal government of allowing armed Islamist groups to kill, maim and displace Christians, through a systematic cleansing.
The Buhari administration said at the time that the APPG report was a misrepresentation of issues in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari in May this year in Abakiliki pledged that the Federal Government would deploy its strength to protect innocent and hardworking Nigerians from terrorists and those causing break down of law and order in the country. (PSN)