The U.S. State Department Has Added Nigeria to Its List of “Countries of Particular Concern”

AFA: ‘We Should Frequently Remind Congress and the White House to Do All They Can to Pressure these Violators of Religious Freedom to Stop’

December 14, 2020

TUPELO, Miss.— Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the State Department’s updates to an annual list of “countries of particular concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act. This list of “countries of particular concern” are nations that have “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

“This year has been a strain for Christians in America –– just like everyone else,” said Ed Vitagliano, executive vice president of the American Family Association (AFA). “However, followers of Jesus Christ in our nation need to remember that our brothers and sisters in many nations have to worry about more than wearing a mask to the grocery store. Christians in countries like Nigeria are engulfed in spiritual warfare the likes of which virtually none of us here have even dreamt. Remembering the persecuted church in prayer should be a regular part of our spiritual discipline each day. Beyond that, of course, is that we should also frequently remind members of Congress and the White House to do all they can to pressure these violators of religious freedom to stop.”

The United States designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, the DPRK, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries of particular concern. Nigeria is the first secular democracy that has been named a country of particular concern. In addition to labeling Nigeria and 9 other sovereign states as countries of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the State Department announced that it is also “placing the Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Russia on a Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated ‘severe violations of religious freedom.’”

For over 40 years, AFA has operated within the mission to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission. Visit AFA Action Alerts here.

AFA—founded in 1977—has long been on the front lines of America’s culture war. Today, AFA is one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country, with nearly a million online supporters and approximately 160,000 subscribers to the AFA Journal, the ministry’s monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 200 radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio banner.

View the media page for AFA here. For more information on American Family Association, visit or follow AFA on Facebook or Twitter @AmericanFamAssc.


To interview a representative of the American Family Association, contact, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.