The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, was behind the attacks on Christians in the country.
Mohammed said this in reaction to a call by five United States Republican senators asking for the redesignation of Nigeria as a country of particular concern because of the alleged persecution of Christians.
A letter to the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, had also alleged violation of freedom of Nigeria Christians to practice their religion.
The Minister said, “We want to say once again that Nigeria does not have a policy that denies people the freedom to practice their religion.
“The country also does not have a policy of violation of freedom of religion and it is not true that Nigeria persecutes anybody on account of his or her faith”.
He added, “Nobody in Nigeria is being persecuted, but we have issues of criminality going on and the criminals really do not make distinction of any religion.
“They kidnap for money, they hold people for ransom Irrespective of their religion and there are some issues of communal matters dating back to many years.
“If statistics is to be taken,I can say confidently that as many Muslims as Christians have been victims of these criminals.