The International Christian Concern (ICC) has denounced the ongoing “genocide” against Nigerian Christians by Fulani militants and other Islamic extremists.
“The UN defines genocide as the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. This is exactly what is happening in Nigeria at the hands of the Fulani militants, Boko Haram, and its offshoot, the Islamic State of West Africa,” ICC spokesperson Addison Parker said. at Crux, an online Catholic media outlet.
“Christian farmers are being killed daily. Priests are targeted, churches are burned down,” Parker said. “While other factors are at play, such as the desire of Muslim herders to grab land, the horrific measures taken to satisfy these desires are fueled by the extremist notion that they are superior to those they see as “infidels” – anyone who does not follow their extremist agenda.
“It gives them the excuse to rid the country of anyone they consider a threat to their goals, all in the name of Allah. This has been happening for 20 years,” he added.
On Tuesday, ICC President Jeff King noted that “Christian communities in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria have indeed suffered a 20-year genocide.”
“The Nigerian government pays lip service to these attacks without any meaningful response. Where is the outcry? Where is the effective action? He asked.
King recalled that in Nigeria, “the army, police and intelligence agencies are all controlled by Muslims. This, coupled with a lack of response from these agencies for 20 years, should naturally lead to more in-depth questioning by the international community.
Last week, the Nigerian Catholic bishops issued a scathing letter, titled “Nigeria: A Nation Groans in Pains,” in which they attribute significant responsibility for ongoing terrorism to the government of Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani Muslim.
“The fact that all of these atrocities against the people and the nation are occurring without a single arrest or prosecution seems to lend credence to the widely held belief that the government is complacent, powerless or compromising,” the Bishops said.
“Given the billions of naira earmarked for security and counter-terrorism in recent times, it is hard to imagine that large numbers of terrorists, who have terrorized unarmed and law-abiding citizens , can disappear in broad daylight without a trace,” they said.
“It is indeed very hard to believe that our security apparatus lacks intelligence or the ability to fight and defeat terrorists in our country. Nigerians are tired of futile excuses and false government promises to deal with terrorists.”
On Wednesday, the ICC reported protests in the Plateau state capital, Jos, demanding justice for Christians killed by militants in Nigeria. The demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as “Stop Christian Persecution”, “End the Killings” and “We want Justice”.
Protest organizer Ezekiel Bini, leader of the Irigwe adult group, said “since 2016 to date, more than 600 Christians have been killed and 24,000 people displaced without any help from the government.”
Despite the number of atrocities, “no Fulani terrorists have been arrested and no humanitarian aid has been given to persecuted Christians”, Bini said.
Last Monday, Fulani looters killed 14 Christians, including women and children, in the predominantly Christian Nigerian state of Benue, near the state capital, Makurdi.
Benue state is predominantly Christian and its governor, Dr Samuel Ortom, has long spoken out against continued violence in the region, making him the target of an assassination attempt by Fulani Muslims in 2021.