U.S. lawmakers label Nigeria as most dangerous place for Christians in the world

The U.S. House of Representatives has labeled Nigeria as the world's most dangerous place for Christians after a former Nigerian leader presented the challenges that believers in his country face.

(REUTERS / Stringer)Relatives of victims of a gun attack mourn at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Nigeria's northern city of Kano April 29, 2012.

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan presented the plight of the Christians in his country before the U.S. House of Representatives' Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights and International Organization. The sub-committee's chairman Christopher Smith issued a statement afterwards, describing their findings after investigating the situation of believers in the African country, Christians in Pakistan reports.

Smith said he and his staff director Greg Simpkins spoke to Christians and Muslims in Nigeria while investigating the struggles of the believers in the country. They also visited religious leaders and the churches that had been targeted in sectarian attacks.

"Unfortunately, Nigeria has been cited as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world and impunity for those responsible for the killing of Christians seem to be widespread," Smith declared.

Aside from that, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom expressed concern for the "troubling" status of religious freedom in Nigeria. In an annual report, the commission appreciated the military's efforts to recapture territory from militant group Boko Haram but at the same time pointed out the suicide bombings and other attacks that are happening in the country.

Boko Haram reportedly forced Christians to renounce their faith and Muslims to bend to the group's extreme interpretation of the Quran. Citing the ongoing clashes between Christian farmers and Muslim herders and other factors affecting religious freedom in the country, the report slammed the Nigerian federal government for its failure to effectively stop terrorism and religiously motivated violence.

During the annual Murtala Mohammed memorial lecture in Abuja, Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno state revealed that the insurgency in Nigeria has killed almost 100,000 people over the years. He also said more than two million individuals have been internally displaced as of December 2016, Premium Times Nigeria reports.

Moreover, there are 52,311 recorded unaccompanied orphans. The insurgency has also left 54,911 women widowed, based on the statistics revealed by Gov. Shettima.