The Christians of Nigeria are suffering from a ruthless persecution that has continued with sporadic attacks for years, and has been escalating recently. We have noted in connection with accounts of persecution from several nations that the hardships that Christians must endure is often exacerbated by the sympathy of law enforcement officials not for the victims, but for the perpetrators. This article goes even farther, revealing the charge of Christian leaders in Nigeria that the Nigerian military itself has aided Islamist groups in attacks on Christian communities. The Nigerian government can and must act to protect its embattled Christian citizens.
Nigeria is about 50% Christian. Of those Christians, around 75% are Protestant, 24% Roman Catholic. Of the remaining 1%, there is a small Orthodox Christian community.
“In Meeting with President, Pastors in Nigeria Say Military Complicit in Attacks on Christians,” Morning Star News, November 28, 2018:
JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Christian leaders meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria this month delivered a sharp rebuke, saying the military is complicit in attacks on Christians.
With the governor of Plateau state in attendance, the Rev. Dacholom Datiri, president of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), delivered a report to Buhari at the presidential villa on Nov. 6 stating that 646 Christians in Plateau state alone were killed from March through October.
“The narrative has been that these people are killed by unknown gunmen, or suspected herdsmen, or that there have been farmer-herders clashes,” Datiri said in the report, obtained by Morning Star News. “All these are deceptive narratives deliberately framed to conceal the truth and continue to perpetrate the evil.”
The truth, he said, is that Muslim Fulani militias heavily armed with sophisticated guns, including AK47s, machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades have attacked and killed Christians.
“After the attacks, it is the Fulani herders that settle and graze their cattle on the farms of the victims,” Datiri said in the report to the president. “The proficiency and mode of operation in all of these attacks, as testified by the surviving victims, leaves us in no doubt of the complicity of the military being used as hired mercenaries by the Fulani militias. On this, we are disappointed, and sadly so, that the government has not delivered on her constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property.”
Datiri said the herdsmen in collaboration with Boko Haram jihadists and other Muslim militants in the areas of Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Bassa and Bokkos destroyed 30 church buildings and 4,436 Christian homes, sending 38,000 Christians into 10 camps for displaced persons from March through October.
“Are we to believe that the armed forces sent to keep peace go with the instructions to protect them?” Datiri said. “The implication is that they protect the aggressors and leave the victims mercilessly helpless.”
Datiri pointed out that as the figures pertain only to Plateau state, they do not include those killed by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria.
For his part, Plateau Gov. Simon Lalong reportedly faulted Muslim and other community leaders for compounding the crisis of violence in the state by hiding criminals.
Buhari, a Fulani Muslim, responded to the Christian leaders by saying he did not doubt COCIN’s report on the atrocities committed against their communities.
“The communities (in Plateau) have lived long enough to know that there is nothing they can do without each other than to live together in harmony,” Buhari said. “As leaders, we must persuade the upcoming generation using every channel, particularly the educational institutions, to live together with our neighbors.”
Christian and Muslim leaders have to work harder to convince the upcoming generation that they must live together in the same country, Buhari said.
“It is not all Muslims that are against Christians, and neither are all Christians against Muslims,” he said. “In our security arrangement, the police is in the frontline in making sure that communities irrespective of ethnic or religious bias live together in peace.”…
Boko Haram, whose name is loosely translated as, “Western education is a sin,” has fought for more than nine years to impose Islamic law on all of Nigeria, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing more than 2 million. Boko Haram militants reportedly warned parents of the returned Dapchi girls not to send their daughters back to school….
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.