Christians in Nigeria face violence and attacks

The situation in Nigeria right now for Christians is grave and has escalated to a level we’ve not seen in recent years. CSI has been working in this volatile area for years and the levels of persecution and violence are extreme…but most Americans are completely unaware. CSI along with their partner Masara Kim is speaking out about this persecution.

CSI is asking you for help in ending these attacks and protecting these communities. We are committed to sending aid and working to support various different agencies to end these attacks. 

Insecurity and religious freedom in Nigeria

With criminals running riot all over the country, the Christian community has suffered tremendous violence, especially in the north where they are targeted by terrorists and bandits. Of the 997 violent incidents reported by EASO, 423 were targeted at Christians and resulted in some 928 fatalities. And it gets worse. In the first 200 days of 2021, according to the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), 3,462 Christians were killed in Nigeria, 3,000 were abducted and around 300 churches were attacked. Intersociety attributes these attacks to the Nigerian army and police, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.

Nigeria is bleeding from a million cuts. These self-inflicted injuries – the result of relentless violence inflamed by uncontained criminality, religious extremism, and abject poverty – are fatally undermining the stability and welfare of Nigeria. Nigeria is a country disfigured by years of crass misrule and disdain for the welfare of the people. The failings of the state have denied it a monopoly of coercive force. Spheres of influence and territories have been taken over by criminals. One of the greatest casualties of this dire situation is freedom of religion.

In the first half of this year, nearly 6,000 people were killed in Nigeria, according to a report by the HumAngle media platform. For its part, the European Asylum Support Office EASO, a European Union agency, estimated close to 3,500 fatalities in the first four months of the year following 997 “security incidents”. And a report by the Nigerian SBM Intel geopolitical intelligence platform shows that in the second quarter of this year no fewer than 3,133 people were killed in violent incidents in Nigeria. These are not isolated killings restricted to one part of the country; sadly all six geo-political zones are affected, signalling a spiralling insecurity and destabilization.

First an outstanding piece produced by FOX NATION which features one of our CSI partners on the ground, Masara Kim. Below find a copy of a recent interview with CSI’s own Franklyn Ogbunwezeh entitled SOON CIVIL WAR? If you’d be kind enough to take the 5 minutes it would take to review this helpful overview of a little known reality, while prayerfully considering support of CSI’s efforts to help our brothers and sisters in imminent danger, we would be increadibly appreciative.

Soon civil war?

During the “persecution.ch” rally organized by the Working Group for Religious Freedom (GLR) of the Swiss Evangelical Network (RES), Franklyne Ogbunwezeh reported on the suffering of Nigerian Christians on August 21, 2021 at the Münsterplatz in Bern. In no other country are there as many Christians killed as in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the sister of our collaborator is one of the many victims: “She died in a terrorist attack by Boko Haram”, he told us.

During his trip to Nigeria from April 6 to May 1, 2021, Franklyne Ogbunwezeh, CSI Africa expert, confirmed our fears: Islamist violence is spreading across the country. The risk of an imminent civil war must be taken seriously.

CSI: On the Nigerian TV station Linda Ikeij TV, you said that you have never seen so much hatred and violence in Nigeria.

Franklyne Ogbunwezeh: That’s right. The Boko Haram insurgency has destabilized the North East. Fear is also pervasive in central Nigeria, where Fulani Islamists are killing Christians. In the South-East, there are secessionist efforts that have degenerated, violence is everywhere: according to various reports, the police and the army are guilty of human rights violations. In the Southwest, too, people want to secede. Kidnappings are taking place everywhere and ransom demands are increasing.

Even through the media, the tribes abuse each other. If Nigerians cannot find a way to stop this explosion of hatred, genocide could be imminent. I remind you that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda was also preceded by years of degrading rhetoric from the Hutus against the Tutsi. I see serious similarities with what is currently happening on the internet and on social networks.

The war in Rwanda was primarily an ethnic conflict. To what extent is Islamist terrorism linked to ethnic violence?

Islamist terrorism exacerbates ethnic conflicts. Many Nigerians have lost confidence in the government as the guarantor of their security. And the situation is not only dangerous for Nigeria. If Nigeria implodes into lawlessness or civil war, the entire West African region will quickly be affected. This would trigger an exodus to Europe.

Shouldn’t the Nigerian government intervene?

The government is weak. Fear reigns throughout the country. And the most fearful citizens are likely to be used as political weapons. Add to this the fact that the number of weapons held by non-state actors is increasing rapidly in Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari may not have created the problems. But his incompetence and his practice of nepotism have widened the divisions and plunged the country into a quagmire of fear and frustration.

Have you become more pessimistic about Christians in Nigeria since your trip?

As an African, I am an optimistic person. Despite all the suffering I have seen in Nigeria, there is reason to be hopeful. Some 70% of Nigerians are young people under the age of 30. I believe that with good political organization, the potential of this young generation could unfold in such a way that Nigeria and other African states would become flourishing countries. But until this is the case, it is imperative that CSI draw attention to the persecution of Christians and moderate Muslims and its possible consequences.

Interview: Reto Baliarda

Nigeria journalist and CSI partner, Masara Kim talks with Fox Nation about the ongoing attacks in Nigeria from Fulani Herdsmen against different Christian villages and towns. 2 years ago Christian Solidarity International was a witness to one of these attacks. CSI’s staff although shaken were unhurt which cannot be said for the almost 70,000 Christians who have been killed in the past few years. Watch the interview

The Nigerian government has been repeatedly accused of not intervening or stopping these attacks from both the local and international communities. Villagers have said the police and soldiers during these attacks are nowhere to be seen. 

Five years ago an all girl school was attacked by Boko Haram and hundreds of girls went missing. The world was outraged. The world searched for the kidnappers and the girls and most were safely found. Since then these same communities have been under constant attack but without the same level of intervention from the world community. 

CSI is asking you for help in ending these attacks and protecting these communities. We are committed to sending aid and working to support various different agencies to end these attacks. 

Your donations

  • Medical care and food distribution for displaced people;
  • Initial funding of income-generating activities for IDPs;
  • Scholarships and material support for disadvantaged children;
  • ADVOCACY Human rights work in Nigeria and abroad (more information in English: www.nigeria-report.org ).

  • Support Nigeria's Christians