USCIRF Hearing: Religious Freedom in Nigeria

Jun 09


Jun 9th 10:30am - Jun 9th 12:00pm

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Hearing

Religious Freedom in Nigeria:
Extremism and Government Inaction

Wednesday, June 9, 2021
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Virtual Hearing

Hearing Transcript

Hearing Summary

Please join the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a virtual hearing on the escalation of violence by nonstate actors in Nigeria and its potential to exacerbate deteriorating religious freedom conditions.

Insecurity is spreading in Nigeria, with violent attacks against civilians or security forces occurring daily. Among the complex web of armed actors and motivations, extremists in various parts of the country target individuals and communities based on their religious identity. Christian and Muslim communities fear for their lives, risking death, mutilation, and abduction when they worship in public and celebrate significant religious ceremonies.

Amidst this shocking scale of violence, government inaction is pervasive. Impunity for extremists who target religious communities and houses of worship is systemic across much of the country. In some localities, politicians prioritize elite bargains over the safety of religious communities. The federal government’s approach has failed to curb the violence and protect its citizens’ rights to freedom of religion or belief.

How can the U.S. government encourage and support Nigeria in addressing impunity for extremist violence? Witnesses will review violence inflicted on religious communities in Nigeria, explain where the federal government’s efforts to address these violations are falling short, and explore policy options for the U.S. government to help protect religious freedom for Nigerian communities.

 Opening Remarks


  • Hon. Frank Wolf, Former Representative, Virginia's 10th Congressional District, United States House of Representatives
    Written Testimony
  • Mike Jobbins, Vice President, Global Affairs and Partnerships, Search for Common Ground
    Written Testimony
  • Hafsat Maina Muhammed, Founder, Choice for Peace, Gender, and Development
    Written Testimony
  • Anthony Bature, Catholic Priest; Head of Department, Religious Studies, Federal University, Wukari, Turaba State, Nigeria
    Written Testimony
  • Tomás F. Husted, Analyst in African Affairs, Congressional Research Service
    Written Testimony

Witnesses’ Bios


Submitted for the Record: 

A report from an organization operating Christian hospitals for over 50 years in Nigeria




This hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the public, and the media. Members of the media should register online and can email for any questions or to schedule an interview. The video recording of the hearing will be posted on the Commission website. For any additional questions, please contact Nina Ullom at or (202) 322-0232.