NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS ARE UNDER SERIOUS ATTACK AND THE WEST IS SILENT

NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS ARE UNDER SERIOUS ATTACK AND THE WEST IS SILENT

N Melo
by N Melo
May 23, 2022 0

NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS ARE UNDER SERIOUS ATTACK AND THE WEST IS SILENT

Nigeria’s Christians are under attack, but does the West care

The scene is medieval in its horror: a woman stoned, beaten and set on fire by a mob shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’. But this didn’t happen hundreds of years ago: it took place a week ago in Nigeria.

The victim was a Christian student named Deborah Samuel, from Sokoto in the north west of the country. Samuel’s ‘crime’, for which she paid with her life, was to have allegedly posted a ‘blasphemous’ comment on a WhatsApp group against the prophet Mohammed.

Even in a nation riddled by decades of ethnic and religious conflict where thousands of Christians have been killed, the incident has sparked uproar. But this outrage has mostly been confined to Nigeria itself; much of the Western world turns a blind eye to the horrors unfolding in Africa.

In the last year, more Christians have been killed for their faith in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world combined. In 2021, at least 6,000 Christians died for their religion; eight in ten were Nigerians, often at the hands of jihadists.

Like or loathe Donald Trump, under his administration, the United States at least took a keen interest in the plight of Christians in Nigeria. The country, along with China and Iran, was added to the U.S. State Department’s list of ‘countries of particular concern’ regarding religious freedom. This formed a plank of the U.S. government’s aim to tackle religious persecution across the globe. But remarkably, under the watch of Joe Biden, Nigeria has since been taken off the list. Biden is under pressure to reverse this decision due to the surge in anti-Christian violence. But whether he does or not, it’s remarkable how little attention he – and indeed other Western leaders – are giving this issue.

Earlier this month, Isis released a video showing 20 Christians being executed in the north east Borno state. Across Nigeria as a whole, approximately 90,000 people have been killed by insurgents (or government forces) since 2009, with around 40,000 of these killed in the Boko Haram insurgency. Between January and March this year, more than 560 Christians were killed for ‘faith-related reasons’ and at least 531 abducted, according to Open Doors.

This horror looks set to worsen. A spike in attacks is anticipated over the coming months during farming season, which is historically associated with land grabs, and the destruction of harvests. For people reliant upon these crops, famine inevitably follows. It’s an endless cycle of violence, murder and mayhem.

The perpetrators of these crimes aren’t just the seasoned jihadists of Boko Haram. An Isis off-shoot, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (Iswap) and the lesser-known, but equally brutal Islamic Fulani militia (or ‘herdsman’) in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, are also to blame. In that troubled region alone – which marks the divide between the principally Muslim north and the mainly Christian south – an estimated 15,000 killings have occurred since 2009; countless others have suffered life-changing injuries. This organised, systematic, and coordinated butchery, which is wrongly assumed by some to be merely a ‘farmer-herder’ conflict, has resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of Christians.

This horror looks set to worsen. A spike in attacks is anticipated over the coming months during farming season, which is historically associated with land grabs, and the destruction of harvests. For people reliant upon these crops, famine inevitably follows. It’s an endless cycle of violence, murder and mayhem.

The perpetrators of these crimes aren’t just the seasoned jihadists of Boko Haram. An Isis off-shoot, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (Iswap) and the lesser-known, but equally brutal Islamic Fulani militia (or ‘herdsman’) in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, are also to blame. In that troubled region alone – which marks the divide between the principally Muslim north and the mainly Christian south – an estimated 15,000 killings have occurred since 2009; countless others have suffered life-changing injuries. This organised, systematic, and coordinated butchery, which is wrongly assumed by some to be merely a ‘farmer-herder’ conflict, has resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of Christians.

N Melo
NM
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