Christians in Nigeria, Under Continuous Attack
October 26, 2016
Christians in Nigeria under Constant Attack, Officials Seem to downplay the religious component of persecution.
- In the period January 2013–May 2016, 826 Christians were killed and 878 injured. There were 102 churches destroyed or damaged.
- Over 20,000 Christian families have been displaced.
- Government officials do not clearly identify Christians as targets in an anti-Christianity agenda.
- The Nigeria Conflict and Security Analysis Network unearths and agenda composed of systemic attacks.
(Vero Beach, FL) Nigeria’s Middle Belt is the scene of ever-continuing attacks on Christian farmers by mainly Muslim Hausa-Fulani herdsmen, including this past week where attacks have occurred in both Kaduna and Benue states. Now a recent report about another state in the Middle Belt, Nasarawa, shows that it too has been the scene of serious violence against Christians. In the period January 2013–May 2016, 826 Christians were killed and 878 injured. There were 102 churches reduced to rubble and ashes.
Beside these, 787 houses were destroyed, as well as nine shops, and 32 motorized vehicles. Many families were completely deprived of their livelihoods. Around 21,000 Christians were reported as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in different camps inside and outside Nasarawa. Due to the difficult security situation, the authors of the in-depth fact-finding report are convinced that they were only able to report part of what really happened.
The Nigeria Conflict and Security Analysis Network (NCSAN) report shows that Nasarawa has been engulfed in various forms of conflict since its creation in 1996. Many researchers, policy makers and government officials have explained the conflict in terms of politics, ethnicity and economic debate over land and resources. In most cases, the religious component of the conflict has been completely downplayed, marginalized, excluded or neglected.
However, field research conducted by NCSAN on the conflicts which occurred from 2013 to 2016 reveals that Christians have been specifically targeted. Emerging evidence suggests there is a strategic agenda to target and persecute ethnic groups that are predominantly Christian. The targeting of Christians appears to be carried out by the Hausa-Fulani herdsmen and by deliberate government policies to marginalize Christians and Christian communities. This is evident in political power-sharing and domination through traditional rulership. Islamic identity tends to give Muslims undue advantage over the affairs of the state. Indeed, state government policies are crafted to favor Islam and Muslims. The ongoing persecution of Christians in Nasarawa, like many other places in northern Nigeria, has been ignored.