Nigerian Pastor Who Met With Blinken: "it's Like Telling A Sick Man To Go Home And Die."

By Christian Solidarity International
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Rev. John Hayab, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter

When U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Nigeria on November 19, Reverend John Hayab was one of five civil society representatives selected to meet with him. The day before, the United States had removed Nigeria from its religious freedom watchlist – despite the fact that Nigeria sees regular and ongoing massacres of indigenous Christians, that Nigerian security forces continue to harass and sometimes kill Shi’ite Muslims, and that multiple Muslims and freethinkers are currently imprisoned for the “crime” of blasphemy.

While the State Department highlighted Secretary Blinken’s meeting with Nigeria’s “civil society,” none of what these Nigerian leaders had to say to Blinken appears in State Department’s own account of the meeting. In this piece, Reverend John Hayab, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State, relates what he told Secretary Blinken during their meeting. Nigeria Report is proud to publish Rev. Hayab’s courageous words:

The US’s delisting of Nigeria from its list of violators of religious liberty is appalling, as the persecution of Christians is still at its peak. The U.S. State Department ignored the worsening insecurity in Nigeria, declaring that placing the country on the list of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC) for religious freedom could jeopardize the work of the US Office of International Religious Freedom in Nigeria.

Only a day before the meeting with Blinken, the terrorists who kidnapped 66 worshippers at the Emmanuel Baptist Church (Kakau Daji, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State) released a video showing themselves killing some of their captives. In the video, the terrorists took five young men between the ages of 15 and 24 from among the kidnapped, acting as if they were to be released. When the victims came near to their homes, the terrorists opened fire, killing two instantly. The third died later. All three have been buried by the church.

When I met with Antony John Blinken, the US Secretary of State, during his recent visit to Nigeria, as one of the five civil society representatives, I expressed how disappointed the Christians in Nigeria were following the US’ deletion of Nigeria from the CPC list. What I said to Blinken was that, because Nigeria still has grave problems with religious persecution, his action was like that of a doctor discharging a patient from the hospital, even though the patient is critically ill. What that signifies is telling the patient to go home and die.

Manifestly, the US was either ill-advised or purposely does not care about what happens to us in Nigeria. It also appears that the State Department does not fully comprehend that there is a grand plan by the current regime in Nigeria to impoverish and weaken the Christian community without letting the international community notice it. To achieve the grand plan, the government employed highly professional lobbyists to convince the State Department to arrive at such an unpopular decision, removing Nigeria’s name from the list of countries violating religious freedom.

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Nigeria Report is a project of Christian Solidarity International. Its goal is to spread awareness of, and promote solutions for, the widespread sectarian violence afflicting Nigeria.

Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is a Christian human rights organization promoting religious liberty and human dignity.