Persecution And Killings Of Christains In Nigeria: A Call For A Global WSCF Response And Action

By Eric Ighalo

By the end of 2016, over 700 churches of a major Christian denomination (EYN) in Northern Nigeria have been completely destroyed, while a research report by Arne Mulder affirms that as of December 2014, over 13,000 church buildings have been destroyed and abandoned in Northern Nigeria.
For a Nation not yet declared to be at war, over 4,725 persons have been officially recorded as killed –with over 1000 murdered by the Fulani Herdsmen in 2018 alone. Today, as one of the many negative fallouts, the Nigerian Nation is dealing with over 1.5 million Internal Displaced Persons (IDP's) - most of whom are students, youths, children and women, all key constituencies of the SCM of Nigeria. Sadly, these figures are increasing with escalating attacks and weak counter responses.

International Christian Concern, a global NGO dedicated to bringing light to the abuses against Christians around the world, in its June 2018 report focusing on Nigeria, stated that two of the world’s acknowledged deadliest Islamist terrorist organizations - The Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen militants are primarily responsible for these attacks and killings. Their research report states:  "The Fulani militants regularly target churches, pastors and Christian worshippers in their attacks-as well as Christian farmers. The government of Nigeria has failed to adequately respond to these attacks and bring the Fulani responsible for these mass killings to justice."

Nigerian Islamic propagandists supported by a number of largely pro-Islamic media organizations have falsely and consistently sold to the world a concept of a Nigeria divided into two. With the North  and Middlebelt being predominantly Muslim and the South predominantly Christian. This politically motivated division that suited colonial interests in the 60’s  primarily have over the years thinned out with significant  numbers of Christian  as well as other faith communities (although minor) existing on both sides, and by reason of years of oppression, their voices unheard as they are discriminated against.

These escalating attacks over the last 4years have now been unmasked as part of a well orchestrated plan to wipe out Christians and  Christianity in Nigeria while entrenching Islamism and Sharia as a way of life.
Direct violent attacks with very sophisticated weapons has been one approach. The other has been stealth Jihad and the strength of stealth Jihad is money.
Stealth Jihad according to Pastor Bosun Emmanuel, Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Elders Forum ( a research think tank of the Christian Association of Nigeria-CAN), is the surreptitious incursion of the Islamists into the Church usually through financial inducements and granting of undue favor to influential Christian leaders so that they will look the other way while Islamism makes progress and advancement against Democracy. It should be understood that the first objective of Islamism is to supplant Democracy with Sharia Ideology. Once Sharia becomes entrenched, Christianity would die a natural death.

The fallouts of these extreme attacks and the seemingly complicity of the Nigeria government and her security agencies as well as the poor reporting of these events by the International media as “communal clashes” or “minor conflicts” have left us with no other option than to seek the help and support of the global WSCF family. The Nigerian Christian Elders forum affirms that the current Federal Administration in Nigeria, headed by a Fulani as President, is openly pursuing an anti-Christian agenda that has resulted in countless murders of Christians all over the nation and destruction of vulnerable Christian communities.
Recently, a former Minister of Defense of Nigeria and now an elder statesman Gen. T. Y. Danjuma raised an alert that Christians should take steps to defend themselves. How can the SCM of Nigeria and the WSCF help to articulate some level of global response.?

The SCM of Nigeria has significant work among students, youth and senior friends group in these affected areas. Disrupted educational careers, loss of viable means of livelihoods built over many years (farms, businesses etc.), loss of one or both parents (especially the male), etc, have become the order of the day.
The SCM, as a student body largely lacks the capacity for humanitarian intervention or resources to man any of the many IDP camps that now dot the northern landscape. But we certainly can do something such as volunteer to serve in these camps, raise resources to provide food, medicine, clothing and books for young people, support the ability of displaced persons to settle down in identified peaceful areas BUT most of all be a voice for them all in a way that affects policy framework and implementation.
Humanitarian intervention and international advocacy are new areas for our local movement and urgent capacity building is required from support of the global WSCF family. Will you help?

 On 4th February 2017, the US Congress affirmed that the most dangerous nation on earth for a Christian is Nigeria and according to World Watch Monitor, over 60% of global Christian fatalities is as a result of persecution. In 2018, Open Doors ranked Nigeria #14 on the World Watch list. All these indices validate the gravity of the situation and a call to continuous prayer.
Local church actions such as chain prayers, peaceful demonstrations by major denominations are going on sporadically and are not at an intensity to forestall further killings. Our voice needs to be heard and international pressure put on the Nigerian government to implement policies and security measures capable to reverse this trend. We believe the WSCF has what it takes to make this happen and help avert what is sliding towards a religious war. None of the countries in West Africa will escape its negative fallout.

 

WSCF – Africa Regional Office
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Website : www.wscf-africa.org