By Rick Plasterer
The decades-long persecution of Christians in Nigeria continues unabated, and if anything, appears to be worsening and just as one-sided as ever. It has been recounted in numerous articles posted by IRD in recent years. Perhaps most disturbing, the government of Nigeria, led by President Muhammed Buhari, has centralized control of the nation’s police, and seems to have a policy of allowing Christians to be murdered by militants of the Muslim Fulani ethnic group with impunity.
Killings, which are ongoing, commonly occur in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt,” between the Muslim north and the Christian south of the country. Significantly, an Anglican bishop in one of the affected areas, the Rt. Rev. Jacob Kwashi of Zonkwa Diocese, remarked last month at a mass funeral that:
“We have never seen an evil government in this country like the one of today … The government is fully in support of the bloodshed in Nigeria. We are being killed just because we are not Muslim.”
This theme was echoed in a presentation by Robert Reilly, director of the Westminster Institute on August 28. Reilly interviewed Robert Destro, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the Trump Administration, and currently Professor of Law at the Catholic University of America; and Mark Jacob, a Nigerian barrister, and former Attorney General of Kaduna State in Nigeria, concerning the Nigerian government’s effective support of the slaughter. Although the terrorist group Boko Haram is the best known perpetrator of violence in Nigeria, Reilly’s interview focused primarily on violence committed by Fulani militants.
Reilly noted that the Trump Administration declared Nigeria a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) in late 2020, which indicates that it has “engaged in or tolerated ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom,” and that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has warned of a potential Christian genocide in Nigeria.
Jacob provided a broad background to what is going on in Nigeria, talking about “factual events that I have primary knowledge of. I’m not talking from second guess or hearsay.” He said that he “has been part of several mass burials,” and has encouraged victims.
Jacob observed that the atrocities to which he refers were “selected killings of Christians, particularly in the ‘Middle Belt’ region of Nigeria.” While it is being claimed that climate change is the ultimate cause of the conflict, in fact, the killings that have happened from 2014 on are a “genocide perpetrated by a sophisticated armed militia.”