Today, Dr. John Eibner, the president of Christian Solidarity International (CSI), wrote to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urging the UN to fulfill its mandate to prevent genocide in Nigeria. Eibner also expressed his concern about the lack of a reply to a joint petition about Nigeria delivered to Alice Wairimu Nderitu, his Special Advisor for Genocide Prevention, five weeks ago.
The confidential petition, which concerned the escalating violence against Christians in Nigeria, was delivered in person on 21 June by a delegation led by Reverend Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam. It was signed by Christian Solidarity International and thirteen other human rights defenders and representatives of NGOs active on the ground in Nigeria.
“We are all united in our belief,” the petition stated, that “those of the Christian faith who have for over a decade been singled out for severe persecution, are presently facing an existential threat.”
The petition asked the Special Advisor to “use all the facilities available through your office to prevent or stop genocide and other atrocity crimes against Christians in Nigeria.” It included detailed supporting documentation about the persecution of Nigerian Christians, provided by seven of the petition signers.
Five weeks later, the Office of the Secretary General still has not responded.
In light of this silence, the petition signers decided unanimously to make the petition public. CSI has taken the additional step of addressing a public letter to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, about the matter.
“Nigeria now stands at the threshold of Genocide,” Dr. Eibner warned in his letter. “Further silence and inaction will leave the impression that the UN is unable or unwilling to fulfill its mandate when confronted with atrocity crimes of the highest magnitude.”
In December 2020, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court reported that there was “reasonable basis” to believe that sectarian terrorist groups in Nigeria and the Nigerian Armed Forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. CSI issued a Genocide Warning for Nigeria in January 2020, and operates a website, www.nigeria-report.org, to spread awareness about the crisis of sectarian violence in Nigeria.
Other NGOs which signed the petition include: the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Gideon and Funmi Para-Mallam Peace Foundation, the International Committee on Nigeria, the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria, the Overseas Fellowship of Nigerian Christians, Baroness Caroline Cox for the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, the Leah Foundation, the Nigerian Evangelical Fellowship, the International Organisation for Peace and Social Justice, and the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Africa.