Open Doors places Nigeria as number 7 in its list of most violent countries for Christians.
While syncretism and sectarianism exists, the population of Nigeria identifies as 46% Christian, 53% Muslim, with the remaining 1% described by the CIA factbook as “other”; traditional Hausa animism.
Nigeria is a Federal Republic which gained independence from Britain in 1960. In 1963 the country adopted a republican constitution, which includes a guarantee to freedom of religion.
Nigeria didn’t adopt a new constitution until 1999, after 39-years of coup de tats that kept the country in the grip of military dictatorships ended.
Historically, Muslims and Christians have lived and worked side by side, however their differences are now impacting Nigeria’s demographic.
Muslims can have up to four wives, whereas Christians preserve Paul’s imperative to Timothy: “be the husband of one wife.” (1 Tim. 3:1-7)
It doesn’t take a biology degree to understand how Islamism is impacting the non-Muslim population.
Nigeria appears to be another domino ready to fall under the jackboot heel of jihadist authoritarianism.
Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) have been at the forefront of raising concerns about the Islamist persecution of Christians terrorising the country.
Up until 2018, CAN was trying to raise awareness about ‘Jihad in Nigeria,’ sending an emissary group called The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) to England in order to ‘solicit support and intervention from the British government.’
The NCEF (not to be confused with the mostly Muslim NEF) said, they were, in sum,
- ‘Concerned at the direction the country is taking because current events in the country seem to have turned the glorious dreams of the founding fathers of Nigeria into a nightmare.’
- ‘It was clear that JIHAD has been launched in Nigeria by the Islamists of northern Nigeria led by the Fulani ethnic group.’
- ‘Islamists from the North want to turn Nigeria into an Islamic Sultanate, and replace Liberal Democracy with Sharia as the National Ideology.’
The NCEF warned of the dangers, stating, ‘the goal of the Islamists is bound to create serious conflicts which if not checked is capable of escalating into another civil war.’
They added (and note this was 4-years ago),
‘Already, the Islamists are murdering Christians with impunity and destroying vulnerable Christian places of worship and communities at an alarming and inhuman rate.’
NCEF said, they prefer to choose dialogue, in the hopes of preserving the Federal Republic, and keeping Nigeria a place ‘where citizens are treated equally before the law at all levels.’
In 2020, Islamist group, Boko Haram, made world headlines after confirming they were behind the kidnapping of 300 Nigeran students from the town of Kankara.
The abductions are a pattern for the Islamic extremists, who, in April 2014, took 276 girls from their school dorm in Chibok. Of whom, the Guardian reported, 100 girls are still missing.
Motive for the kidnappings were reported as materialistic, with one ‘Western counter-terror official’ operating in the field stating, ‘there are close relations between armed criminals, traffickers and Islamist extremists.’
An August 2018, warning from CAN to married women, and girls connected Nigeria’s rampant persecution of Christians with Egypt’s ‘Jihad of the womb’ – the kidnapping and forced conversion of Coptic Christian women.
Echoing Coptic Solidarity, CAN explained, the ‘incessant kidnapping of the Christian girls and the forceful conversion to Islam is another form of Jihad in the 21st Century.’
The purpose of which was:
‘To inflict pain on the parents of the girl and the Christian community; and to impregnate the girl to add to their claims that Islam is the fasted growing religion in the world.’
While CAN said not all Muslims are bad, the group, cited the Quran 9:29, and emphatically stated, ‘it was high time to understand and accept this truth: “EVERY MUSLIM IS A JIHADIST.” (sic.)
Social arm of CAN, Christian Social Movement Nigeria stated in February, ‘the genocide continues.’
A May 2022 analysis from mission group, the Lausanne Movement, described the ‘wanton murder of Christians by insurgent groups as continuing unabated.’
‘Whatever the specific cases entail, in the escalation of kidnappings and murders, one cannot help but sense a systemic effort to subduing the very public presence of Christianity in Nigeria.’
Quoting CAN’s vice president, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, International Christian Concern the phenomenon includes Muslim accusations of blasphemy being used to justify violence against Christians.
“We know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with perceived enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion. We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy.”
Church Militant provided a recent example: Christian student Deborah Yakubu was accused of blasphemy, then brutally murdered by an enraged Islamist mob in May.
Yakubu was stoned, then burned alive after fellow students accused her of ‘disagreeing with Islamic propaganda disseminated on social media.’
Deborah Yakubu’s lynching, and protestors demonstrating against the arrest of her attackers as an “attack on Islam,” illustrate the continuing polarisation between Christians in the South, and Muslims in the North of the South-West-central African nation.
An embarrassing report on the country from Amnesty international exemplifies why we need to talk about the genocide taking place in Nigeria.
In its report, Amnesty failed to mention the persecution of Christians, or even acknowledge there is a problem.
The leftist-proper human rights watchdog doesn’t even mention Christians once.
They do however manage to pay tribute to the LGBTQ+, women’s rights, and squeeze in an example of Muslim pilgrims being killed by security forces.
Amnesty does acknowledge that Boko Haram, and Islamic State are among the perpetrators of human rights abuses in Nigeria, however, they emphasise the corruption within, and violence carried out in ‘counter-insurgency operations’ by Nigerian security forces – without mentioning that this group is also dominated by Muslims, and responsible for deaths of Christians.
For the most part Amnesty appears to be following the Nigeran Government’s scroll-ignore-repeat, party-line, writing off the systemic killings of Christians as “inter-communal violence or banditry.”
Amnesty’s apparent unconcern for Christians is made worse by a 2018 piece from CAN, which provided evidence of links between Islamist insurgents, and government officials.
CAN said, Islamists are hiding “under the colour of “Fulani Herdsmen.”
‘For the first time in the history of Nigeria and global terrorism patterns and trends, the killers are allowed and protected by the central Government,’ CAN exclaimed.
CAN listed “inter-communal violence or banditry” as 2 of ’10 false defences used to discount the killing of Christians, destruction of churches, and seizure of their ancestral lands.’
In other words, “inter-communal violence or banditry” are a smokescreen through which Nigerian, and woke Western officials – who are more concerned about being falsely labelled a “racist” or “Islamophobe,” – can ignore the rapidly expanding persecution of Christians in Nigeria.
Genocide Watch placed Nigeria as ‘worst in the world for the persecution of Christians in 2021.’
GW reports that from July 2009 to March 2022, ‘the Christian death tolls rose to 45,644, with another approximately 30,000 moderate Muslims’ also killed by Islamist jihadists.
Westerners being muted on the matter is a stark contrast to 2020’s black squares, black power fists, BLM protests, and the blank cheque pandering to the “Black Lives Matter” narrative.
One explanation is that the hive-mind multitudes in the pews who jumped on the multi-million-dollar Marxist bandwagon, have little to no idea about what’s happening to Christians, and moderate Muslims in the country.
A direct result of the left’s “nuance and niceness” doctrines, which render organisations mute in an attempt to assuage political correctness, such as Amnesty International, legacy media, and the leftist bourgeoisie walking the halls of power, and occupying our pulpits.
For these groups some serious self-reflection is in order.
Is George Floyd’s life worthy of more attention, and sympathy than Deborah Yakubu’s?
This question makes the Spectator UK’s recent admonishment all the more severe,
Either black lives matter everywhere, or the whole thing was a sham.
‘While the focus of the Western world rightly remains on the suffering of Ukrainians, we can ill-afford to forget the nightmarish plight of Nigeria’s persecuted Christians.’
First published on Caldron Pool, 2nd June 2022.
©Rod Lampard, 2022