Photo credit: Plateau State government

The Future of Freedom in Nigeria

The Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee in Congress held a hearing titled The Future of Freedom in Nigeriaon Wednesday, February 14 at 2:00pm Eastern time. 

Witnesses included:

The Honorable Frank Wolf
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

Bishop Wilfred Anagbe
Bishop of the Diocese of Makurdi, Nigeria
Roman Catholic Church

Mr. Ebenezer Obadare
Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow for Africa Studies
Council on Foreign Relations

Ms. Oge Onubogu
Director, Africa Program
The Wilson Center

Each witness provided a written statement on Nigeria to the Subcommittee. The statements can be read and/or downloaded here


Nigerian government officials have generally failed to reform or change policies that address the factors affecting religious freedom in their country. 

For example, in July of 2023, after violent killings in Plateau State, President Bola Tinubu issued a statement encouraging community and religious leaders, and traditional rulers to work together to rebuild trust and restore harmony in conflict areas. However, nothing was done in government after the attack, or numerous attacks across the North or Middle Belt since, to mitigate the rising trend of repression and violence toward Christians and Muslims.

NGOs, including 21Wilberforce, International Committee on Nigeria, and Alliance Defending Freedom, among many others, have conducted fact-finding trips, collected data and testimonies for Congress, written reports, raised awareness through story-telling, conducted advocacy trainings within Nigeria and advocated on Nigeria’s behalf with the U.S. government. Open Doors in the United Kingdom recently asked, “Why are more Christians killed in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world?

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has also been alarmed at the increase of attacks based on religious belief within Nigeria. USCIRF Commissioners have made trips to Nigeria, published reports, and conducted virtual events in an attempt to urge Nigeria to protect its citizens right to freedom of religion or belief.

USCIRF Vice Chair Frederick A. Davie recently said, “USCIRF reiterates its call for the State Department to designate Nigeria a Country of Particular Concern, which is merited based on its own reporting on religious freedom conditions in the country.”