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General News of Friday, 19 November 2021


Removal from religious freedom blacklist excites FG

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has commended the United States for removing Nigeria from its list of countries with religious freedom concerns.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement, said the decision was fair and just.

Mohammed who is in Paris, France, for the 41st UNESCO General Conference, reiterated his position that Nigeria did not engage in religious freedom violation nor had a policy of religious persecution.

Mohammed said Nigeria jealously protected religious freedom as enshrined in the constitution and took seriously, any infringements in that regard. We will continue to ensure that every Nigerian has the freedom to practise his or her own chosen religion or belief without hindrance.’’

Mohammed also commended religious leaders who have been working to ensure religious harmony in the country.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has thanked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for its intervention and support in the ongoing repatriation of its stolen cultural artefacts.

Speaking at the opening of the UNESCO Cultural Commission Meeting attended by over 100 countries, Mohammed said the intervention by the UN organ aided the success stories Nigeria was recording in the repatriation of the cultural assets.

“I commend UNESCO on the emphasis on illicit trading and trafficking of cultural artefacts This is an area where the Federal Government has been most successful because in recent times, we have been able to get our cultural artefacts back from Cambridge University and the University of Aberdeen.

“We have succeeded in letting countries like France return our terracotta head while we are also on the hot pursuit of the 1,130 Benin bronze heads from Germany,” he said.

The minister also registered Nigeria’s gratitude to UNESCO for the training of its underwater experts as well as its initiative in the protection of cultural objects in troubled areas.

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