CSI launches a website dedicated to understanding sectarian violence in Nigeria

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is in the grip of religious conflict. Yet the ongoing violence receives little attention in the West. To raise awareness of the conflict and its deadly impact, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) has launched an advocacy website entitled ‘Nigeria Report’.

Sectarian violence in Nigeria has reached alarming proportions. Between them, the jihadist Boko Haram and Islamist-inspired Fulani militants have killed tens of thousands of Nigerians and driven millions from their homes over the past several years. Attacks continue with apparent impunity as the government fails to act.

Nigerian victims protest over attacks by Fulani herdsmen.

Nigerian victims protest over attacks by Fulani herdsmen.

Over the Easter holiday 11 worshippers were killed by gunmen following a Good Friday service in the southeastern state of Benue while 20 others died in attacks on Christians in Adamawa and Gombe in the northeast, according to the Christian Association of Nigeria.

The country is edging closer to failed state status, argues CSI’s Dr John Eibner . He adds that the conflict “victimizes evermore Nigerians, weakens the fragile bonds of the federal state, threatens the stability of its neighbors, and opens still wider the door for international terrorist networks”.

nigeria-report.org gives a voice to victims and provides a forum for leading Nigerian thinkers to present their views on how the conflict can be resolved.

In its lead commentary, Catholic cleric Mons. Obiora Ike argues that the UN, the USA and the EU should appoint special envoys for Nigeria to report objectively on the situation and “forestall future tragedy”, while journalist and Episcopalian priest Rev. Hassan Johncalls on Muslim clerics to counter radical Islamist ideologies and on the government to bring perpetrators of violence to account. Commentaries by Sr. Mary Rose-Claret Ogbuehi, and Dr Onymaechi F. O. Ogbunwezeh will follow.

Nigeria Report provides links to documentation, including a recent speech by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom addressing the violent attacks on predominantly Christian farming communities by jihad-inspired militias. There are also links to articles and reports by prominent Nigerian academics, and by western think tanks and human rights organizations. Among the former are Z.K. Bonat, Centre for Population and Development, Kaduna; B.O. Omitola, Osun State University; O.E Okeke, Federal University; Isah Mohammed Abbas, Ahmadu Bello University; I.F. Ezeonwuka, Renaissance University; A.U. Igwe, Nnamdi Azikiwe University.