The European Centre for Law and Justice this week filed an official request asking the UN to “recognize and put an end to the atrocities being carried about against Christians in Nigeria.”
The Aug. 13 document presented to the UN’s Human Rights Council urges it to step in and stop the slaughter of Christians in Nigeria, especially the violence perpetrated by the extremist Boko Haram group.
“Increasingly,” warns the Aug. 13 letter, “Nigeria has become home to radical groups that seek to eliminate Christianity from the country.”
Horrific reports have circulated via social media of late regarding bloodthirsty jihadi attacks on Nigerian Christians. So far in 2018, 6,000 innocent victims have been maimed or murdered.
That grisly news comes from a press release from devastated church leaders in Nigeria’s Plateau State, declaring that thousands of children, women, and the elderly have been brutalized — with many killed — in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen.
As the Faith & Freedom column previously reported, churches have been attacked, family farms have been confiscated, and homes have been torched with entire families burned to death inside.
“There is no doubt,” the church leaders’ press statement affirms, “that the sole purpose of these attacks is aimed at ethnic cleansing, land grabbing and forceful ejection of the Christian natives from their ancestral land and heritage."
Open Doors, a well-established and trustworthy watch-dog organization that documents Christian persecution, recently reported that in late June 2018 a dozen Christian villages were completely wiped out in a four-day massacre.
“Most of the victims were in their homes sleeping when the attacks began … when Muslim Fulani militant herdsmen began their killing spree…In only days, a dozen villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state were wiped out….As many as 200 Christians had been killed, however, some residents fear the death toll may be even higher, as more bodies are yet to be recovered, while others were burned beyond recognition.”
Newsmax contacted a Nigerian friend who must remain anonymous for safety reasons. He acknowledged that our report on Nigeria earlier this year was correct, but that the upheaval carries on.
He explained: “It is regrettable that the killings by the herdsmen have continued unabated. Worse still, the security agencies do not seem to be able to curb the killings. This has led to accusations that the government is either complicit or laissez-faire in its handling of the killings. It is definitely not showing enough concern about the issue, and can therefore be justifiably accused of failing in its primary duty of protecting the lives and property of its citizens.”
Some international news media sources remain either ill-informed or, worse, deceitful in their reporting. They depict the killings simply as community-centered land conflicts while ignoring altogether the menacing religious aspects of the attacks.
Thankfully, a number of responsible and knowledgeable observers have courageously acknowledged that the attacks specifically target Christians.
In March 2018, Newsmax amplified two clear and uncompromising voices. They offered their perspectives about Nigeria, its importance in the world, and the global threat posed by its deterioration into a failed state.
One was former Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., a Distinguished Senior Fellow for 21Wilberforce who served 34 consecutive years in the U.S. House of Representatives, remains a stalwart champion of international human rights, religion freedom, and persecuted minorities.
Wolf reminded Newsmax that Nigeria is the largest nation in Africa, with a population of 186 million. Of those about 86 million, or 46 percent, are Christian.
Year after year, Nigeria is the top economic performer in Africa. It is also a key regional force, capable of stabilizing — or destabilizing — the surrounding countries — Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
Rep. Wolf quoted a somewhat unexpected expert, but one who also understands the significance of Nigeria: Bono, of U2 fame.
A human rights activist himself, Bono has invested considerable time in Africa.
Bono told The New York Times in September 2016: "There's so much strategic importance in Nigeria — that's why it's odd that there's not more focus on what's happening.
“It's pathetic. If Nigeria fails, Africa fails. If Africa fails, Europe fails. And if Europe fails, America is no longer America."
President Donald Trump has added his own voice to the discussion. At the White House, during a meeting with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, Trump spoke out on behalf of Nigeria’s beleaguered Christians.
“We are deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It’s a horrible story,” President Trump told Buhari.
“We encourage Nigeria and the federal state and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths including Muslims and including Christians.”
President Trump’s words are unprecedented. But freshly calculated actions on the part of the U.S. State Department — in support of the President’s concerns — may also be necessary.
A recent report from the Atlantic Council raises a key problem:
“…it is mind-boggling that in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and its biggest economy, there is no U.S. diplomatic presence north of the capital of Abuja, located in the country’s geographical center. Thus, the entire northern part of the country, which is home to more than 90 million predominantly Muslim people who would, by themselves, constitute Africa’s third most-populous country — and in the middle of the geopolitically sensitive Sahel region at that — has been entirely bereft of U.S. diplomatic presence (and the ongoing intelligence and other monitoring capabilities that come with such a mission) ever since the consulate in Kaduna was closed in 1991 for budgetary reasons.”
Perhaps bolstering up America’s diplomatic representation in northern Nigeria — along with the proclamations of the U.S. president and the prayers of the faithful — could turn the surging, destructive tide in jihad-targeted, bloodstained Nigeria.