YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – President Joe Biden and his administration have come under severe censure in Nigeria over the State Department’s latest report on religious freedom in the world.

Christian leaders are upset the report fails to include Nigeria in the “countries of particular concern” (CPC) watch list, which lists those nations that have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

Nigeria has a population of 230 million people, almost evenly divided between Christians, mainly in the south, and Muslims, mainly in the north.

Nigeria now has the infamous distinction of having the worst persecutor of Christians in the world. Every year, at least 4,000 Christians are killed in the country, according to Global Christian Relief.

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“It is devastating to hear that the Biden administration has disappointed the persecuted Church in Nigeria again,” said Father Moses Lorapuu – Director of Communication and Vicar General Pastoral for the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria’s Benue State.

He noted while the report recognizes the uptick in attacks, killings, and kidnappings, all leading to what it calls “a climate of fear and displacement” among the Christian population, it balks at designating Nigeria as a country of particular concern with the argument that “because issues of religion, ethnicity, land, and resource competition, and criminality are often closely linked, it was difficult to categorize many incidents as being solely, or even primarily, based on religious identity.”

Yet, for every ten Christians killed in the world, nine of them are from Nigeria, according to a 2023 report by Open Doors, a Christian charity.

A report issued in 2023 by, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) said at least 52,250 Nigerian Christians had been murdered since 2009.

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Within the same period, 18,000 Christian churches and 2,200 Christian schools were set ablaze. Approximately 34,000 moderate Muslims also died in Islamist attacks.

Emeka Umeagbalasi, the board chair of Intersociety, can’t understand why the U.S. State Department’s report would overlook these statistics.

“I don’t know where the Department of State derives its statistics from,” Emeka told Crux.

“It’s very unfortunate,” he said.

“We continue to express real concern over the failure of the U.S. government to call out Christian killings in Nigeria. This is the same government of the United States that has enacted the International Freedom of Religion Act of 1998, yet the government has failed to speak out, it has continuously mangled the true position of things in Nigeria,” he explained.

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Emeka accused the Biden administration of playing politics with a “rogue “Nigerian regime that has been “clandestinely aiding and abetting the killings and the burnings.”

“The killings have been elevated to state policy in Nigeria,” he said.

“The Biden administration has been relating with a rogue government in Nigeria,” he said.

He added the only way by which the current U.S. administration can be pushed into taking action on the persecution of Christians in Nigeria is by setting Christian persecution in Nigeria as a campaign issue as the country heads to November’s polls.

“That way, any presidential candidate will be compelled to tell the world what the position of his government is going to be towards the massacre of Christians in Nigeria if he becomes the President of the United States,” Emeka said.

The Director of Social Communications at Makurdi Diocese, Father Moses Lorapuu, said Christianity will continue to grow in Nigeria, despite the persecution, and despite the “hypocrisy” of the United States that prides itself as a beacon of freedom in the world.

“The blood of martyrs remains the seed of Christianity!” he said.

“The hope that the agony brought by these senseless massacres and devastation of property of an already impoverished rural dweller-populace was going to end would be momentarily squashed, but we will turn our gaze to the heavens,” the priest added.

“As long as the leadership of this country remains in the hands of those who are part of the persecution, there will be no justice for Christians. Relativistic euphemisms such as ‘communal clashes’ are political and economic lifelines for a Christian West that does not care much about the sufferings of the Christian South,” Lorapuu said.