…as Nigeria lost over 400 Christian lives including 130 Children to Fulani Jihadists in Three Months of 2019
The leadership of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law-INTERSOCIETY is shocked and deeply dismayed by the reported loss in 2018 alone of no fewer than 90,000 Christian lives around the world and silence and inaction of the world leading int’l democracies. The Christians were hacked to death globally in 2018 for “being professed Christians”. The silence and inaction by the world leading democracies are clearly and dangerously rearing Xian militias and defensive insurgencies both those already formed and others at embryonic stages of formation around the world.
Global Overview: Christian militias and defensive insurgencies are already up and running in countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, New Zealand, Central African Republic (Anti-Balaka Xian militias), etc, just as new radical or Jihadist Muslim militias have sprung up in Christian dominated countries of Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic, etc; stepping up their deadly attacks against Christians.
The Seleka Muslim militias of the Central African Republic have even gone to the extent of organizing military coup to install a pro Muslim government in a country where Muslims are in acute minority. Totality of these has intractably threatened and undermined global and regional peace and made violence over faith or value-based violence protracted and irresolvable at municipal, regional and international levels; thereby putting the world at crossroads of grave uncertainties.
In Nigeria, no fewer than 2,900-3,000 Christians were hacked to death in 2018, out of the number, not less than 2,400 were killed by Fulani Jihadists or “killer Fulani Herdsmen” in renewed and escalated attacks targeted and launched at Christians and their sacred places of worship in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria. The rest or estimated 600 others were killed in Islamist insurgency attacks particularly in the Northeast Region of Nigeria. The present central Government of Nigeria is also responsible for execution outside the law of no fewer than 970 Christians and 1,200 members of the Shiite Muslim sect since August 2015.
Intersociety has strongly risen and still rises against religious extremism or radicalism by various State and non State actors including “collateral killing” of Muslims by Jihadist Boko Haram insurgents; as well as Islamic banditry and agro violence, which have also resulted to death of thousands of Muslims since mid 2015. The banditry and rustling violence is perpetrated and restricted to Zamfara, Birnin-Gwari areaof Kaduna and other restricted parts of Northwest Nigeria.
90,000 Global Xian Deaths In 2018: As reported on 16th March 2019 by foreign-based Independent Sentinel News, monitored on US-based Fox News: “Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world for the second year in a row”, Fox News reported; with 90,000 of them killed for their beliefs last year (2018)”. The report originated from the upcoming report of the Italian-based Center for Studies on New Religions, which determined that “90,000 Christians were killed for their beliefs worldwide last year (2018) and nearly a third were at the hands of Islamic extremists like ISIS. Others were killed by state and non-state persecution, including in places like North Korea”. The study also found that “as many as 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their religion in 2018”.
Killing Of Xians In Nigeria: In Nigeria, Government protected Fulani Jihadists or “Killer Fulani Herdsmen” now slaughter Christians and burn or destroy churches at an alarming rate never recorded in the history of Fulani Herdsmen violence in Nigeria; to the extent that more Christians are killed and churches burnt or destroyed-compared to those killed or destroyed by Islamist insurgents such as Boko Haram, between mid 2015 and March 2019.
By various expert and government reports, studied and analyzed by Intersociety, Nigeria has lost over 16,000 churches, 1,500-2,000 Christian schools and nearly, if not over 23,000 Christians, mainly women and children in the combined attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani Jihadists (“Killer Fulani Herdsmen”) between July 2009 and March 2019.
Between July 2009 and December 2014, “over 13,000 churches, 1,500 Christian schools and 11,500-12,500 Christian lives were lost to Jihadist Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria”; with over 1.3m Christians forced to flee their homes to escape being hacked to death (Open Doors 2015)”. Nearly, if not over 3,000 churches and about 6,200 Christian lives were also lost to Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen between June 2015 and March 2019; with hundreds of thousands displaced or forced to flee and abandon their homes and ancestral lands.
Death Of Over 400 Christians In Jan-March 2019: In the just gone three months of 2019 or Jan to March, Intersociety had found that over 400 Christian lives including not less than 150 children with ages between those at their mothers’ backs and ten years have been lost in several coordinated deadly attacks carried out by Government protected Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen against Christians and their properties in the Old Middle Belt States of Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Adamawa, Taraba and Kogi.
The over 400 Christian lives and nearly 200 houses including dozens of churches burnt or destroyed by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen did not include Christian deaths and property destruction lost to Jihadist Boko Haram insurgents and allied others; between the Eve of Jan and end of March 2019. In the reported killer Fulani Herdsmen attacks, Kaduna State was worst hit, losing not less than 300 Christians including 101 children and 73 women; all killed in less than 35 days (Feb 10-March 16) in Christian dominated Southern Kaduna including Kajuru areas of the State. In the past 90 days of the said attacks, Kaduna had lost not less than 300 Christians, Benue 46, Plateau 20, Adamawa 25, Taraba 8 and Kogi 3.
This in addition to 20th March 2019 killing by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen of a Senior University Lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Mr. Nnamdi Ogueche; who was ambushed and killed in Enugu State and an Igbo oil magnet, killed in Kaduna State; totaling 404 Christians. These numbers may exclude “dark figures of crime” or those that went unreported. The Jihadist attacks also led to destruction of nearly 200 Christian houses including dozens of churches and schools and seizure of acres of land belonging to the victims and their families or churches.
300 Christian Deaths In Kaduna :Feb-March 2019: By the recent account of the Barnabas Aid Agency, a UK-based aid agency for the persecuted Church, working in over 60 countries around the world where Christians are marginalized because of their faith; “over 300 people (Christians) were killed in at least seven predominantly Christian villages across Kaduna State, Nigeria, in February and March 2019; brutal rapes and maiming with machetes were also reported.”
“In a dawn attack on Karamai on 14 February, 41 died when some 300 gunmen engulfed the village, chanting “Allahu Akbar!” as they fired their guns and ransacked homes. Almost all the dead were women and children, apart from a few elderly and blind men who were unable to flee. Up to 71 people were killed and 28 injured in a Fulani militia attack on 11 March in Dogon Noma village, Kaduna State. According to eyewitness accounts, the gunmen were “torching houses, shooting and hacking down anything that moved”. Some 100 houses were destroyed in the attack.”
“A further nine persons were reportedly killed in Nandu Gbok, also in Kaduna State on 16 March and 30 houses destroyed. In Kajuru district in February and March, the bodies of about 73 women, some pregnant and 101 children ranging from babies on their mothers’ backs up to 10-year-olds, were interred in a mass-grave. Witnesses said most of the men in the villages fled when the raid started in the early morning in Dogon Noma and Karamai. Others were thought to be assisting in neighboring villages that had been attacked in the preceding days”.
Indicting & Inciting Role Of Govt. Of Nigeria: In all these anti Christian attacks, the role of the present central Government of Nigeria headed by Mr. Muhammadu Buhari has been undeniably and inescapably indicting and inciting; fueling and escalating the killings. Apart from doing little or nothing to end the butchery and anti Christian religious cleansing- and protect the country’s constitutional secular status including citizens’ right to freedom of religion within the ambit of the law, the response of the Government and its security agencies particularly with respect to preventive security measures is also nothing to write home about.
The security response and protection are deliberately skewed or disproportionally arranged to fuel and escalate the killings. Security agents including soldiers and police personnel sent to the affected areas have severally been found to have done little or nothing when the victim communities or areas came under attacks; allowing the attackers to operate for several hours unchallenged; only to surface afterwards and start arresting victims or clamping down on the same communities that had come under Jihadist Fulani attacks.
The Government is so biased and complicit that in 2018, the Presidency issued a statement urging Christian communities of the Middle Belt Nigeria and others “to surrender their lands to Fulani Herdsmen and stay alive than to refuse and get killed”. The Presidential statement was later christened by critics as “Land-or-Your Life” statement. Nigeria’s Minister of Information also cried out recently that “some powerful countries denied Nigeria loans because of Fulani Herdsmen despite fortune spent and efforts made internationally or in the international media to refute the allegation Christians are being killed in Nigeria and convince them that it is only “herders-farmers clashes”.
The Minister further spoke on the Federal Government’s “two comparative narratives” of Muslim-Muslim killings in Zamfara, Kaduna’s Birnin-Gwari and Kebbi-describing them as “herders-farmers clashes” involving “killing of Muslims by fellow Muslims”. The two narratives are not only false and rejected by Intersociety but they are purely “cattle rustling and banditry related violence” perpetrated by Muslim bandits and restricted to the named Muslim populated areas. They have nothing whatsoever to do with statistically established Government condoned Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen attacks on Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt Region.
The Buhari Government of Nigeria not only protects the killer Fulani Herdsmen and their industrial scale rights abuses in Nigeria but also trivializes the Jihadist Genocide as “Herders-Fulani clashes”-a false labeling that has seen the Government spent billions of naira annually in selling such falsehood locally and internationally; yet the same Government has failed woefully to provide answers to the following the questions as per:
Unanswered Questions Over “Herders-Farmers Clashes” Deceit: How many Muslim farmers and Mosques have the killer Fulani Herdsmen targeted, attacked, killed or destroyed or burnt in the Middle Belt Nigeria since increase in their attacks in mid 2015; whether there are no Muslim farmers and Mosques in the Middle Belt capable of being attacked or killed or destroyed since the killings are “herders-farmers clashes”; what targeting and burning or destruction of churches and Christian schools and abduction and killing of Christian priests got to do with “herders-farmers clashes; and why is it that it is only “Christian farmers, their homes and churches” that are being targeted, leaving out “Muslim farmers and their homes including Mosques” despite their majority in Northern Nigeria.
This is more so when it has been scholarly and statistically established that deadly attacks carried out by killer or Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen are solely launched and targeted at Christians and other members of non Muslim faith in Nigeria with no records of “collateral killing” of Muslims.
For instance, in one of the most recent attacks by killer or Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in Ayilamo Community, Tombo Ward in Logo Council Area of Benue State, which according to the Nation Newspaper of 29th March 2019, took place in the night of Thursday, 28th March, all the four victims including a woman are Christians. Their names were given as Aondo Gbagaagaver, Laaga and Wuese Wuakor and Ortyom Ingyutu.
In another Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen attack that took place on Wednesday, 27th March 2019 in Ojuwo-Igboone Community, Omala Council Area of Kogi State, as reported by the Daily Post of 28th March 2019, all the three dead victims and one person critically injured are Christians. They are Samson Ajene, Adah Audu and Monday Ocho, while Haruna Ajene, critically injured, was admitted at the Abejukolo General Hospital in the State. The victims are all in their 20s.
Silence & Inaction Of Xian Leaders In Nigeria: In all these anti Christian attacks and killings, the role of Christian leaders especially the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, is conspiratorial and nothing to write home about; except swimming in the blood of their murdered faith members and profiting from constancy of such attacks. The national leadership of CAN has recently come under widespread attacks and criticisms for constantly engaging in ritualized presidential courtesy calls and congratulatory visits, usually in return for multi million naira “brown envelopes”-with attendant leadership crisis between the CAN national leadership and its Elders’ Council (see Buhari’s N40M Gift tears CAN apart: Vanguard Newspaper, 20thMay 2018).
Intersociety had called and still calls for scrapping of CAN for outliving its usefulness and watching by doing little or nothing while the Faith and thousands of its members are brutally suppressed and massacred on yearly basis in Nigeria. It is so bad that a good number of Christian bishops including Catholic and Anglican Bishops in Northern Nigeria are now “Bishops with empty church houses or dioceses/archdioceses”.
For instance, the Catholic, Anglican and Pentecostal Dioceses/Provinces of Kafanchan, Sokoto, Maiduguri, etc have almost become “dioceses/provinces with empty church houses”. Some bishops have also become “politicians in cassock” moving from one government paid hotel to another as “peace ambassadors of the Government”; abandoning their Faith and lives and safety of their members to hostile and violent Muslim groups and their Government protectors.
Calls: Intersociety therefore call on the world leading democracies including the US, EU, US, Canada and the Vatican to end their era of silence and inaction over the untamed and unchecked persecution of Christians around the world including Nigeria. Constant and unchecked attacks on Christians around the world and silence and inaction of the world leading democracies must stop. Global and faith pacifism can only be maintained in the atmosphere of religious freedom, harmony and tolerance and not otherwise. It must also be firmly stated that leaders of Christian churches and global democracies including the United Nations are speedily losing it as history has always shown that attacks over values such as religion and ethnic identity hardly go without reply or reprisal.
The rise in number of Christian militias formed in Syria since the start of the SyrianCivil War in 2011 and recent defensive insurgency or suicide attacks on Christchurch Mosque on 15thMarch 2019, killing 49 Muslim worshippers are clear signs of frustrations, loss of hope and patience by the laity Christian world and signs of more to come, if unchecked and untamed. It is also a clear sign that the global democracies including UN and leaders of global churches have failed and endangered laity Christians through conspiracy of silence and inaction.
Christian militias, composed largely of fighters from the various Syriac/Assyrian, Arab and Armenian Christian communities in Syria, are on the increase in recent times especially in the Middle East. They are also found amongst Assyrian communities in neighboring northern Iraq. Before the eruption of Syrian war, as much as 10% of the population was Syriac/Assyrian, Armenian or Arab Christian, and together they formed one of the largest Christian minorities in the Middle East. The rise of Christian militias dominated by women has provided a semblance of “balanced of violence” and drastically reduced the attacks on Christians in the areas including beheadings and forceful conversion to Islam. There are also several “Christian-militias-in-formation” or at embryonic stages of formation around the world, with Nigeria not being left out.
We call on the Government of Nigeria to cease from further protection of the killer Herdsmen and condoning of their industrial scale rights abuses as doing so will put the country at crossroads of grave uncertainties. The Federal Government of Nigeria must end its gross censorship and bias over reportage of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen violence in Nigeria and call spade a spade both locally and internationally.
Condemns Attacks On Foreign Media Reports: The Nigerian Government’s recent attack on foreign media reports over the anti Christian killings in the country is deeply regrettable and condemnable. Such attacks and threats must be discontinued. Government must also relax its censorship and unethical embargo placed on Nigeria’s mainstream media and allow them free hand to report the killings professionally, ethically and unbiased.
Commendation: Our special commendation goes to some foreign Medias and anti religious persecution organizations for their courage, unbiased and professional reports on the plight of Christians in Nigeria as well as that of defenseless Muslims in the hands of their fellow violent Muslims or Government (i.e. Shiite Muslims massacred by the Buhari Government and state persecution of their leader and his beloved wife). Some Nigerian online media and a section of the print media must also not be left out of our commendation.
In the area of foreign media, the likes of the Christian Post Int’l, Jihad Watch, Open Doors, Barnabas Aid Agency, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Int’l Providence Magazine (a journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy), Independent Sentinel and Center for Studies on New Religions (Italy), the Breitbart, etc, Metro Voice News, are singled out for our special commendation.
For: For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chair of the Board
(B.Sc., CSS, M.Sc., PCR)
Email: [email protected]
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL)
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Email: [email protected]
Chidinma Udegbunam, Esq., (LLB, BL)
Head, Campaign & Publicity
Email: [email protected]
Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq., (LLB, BL)
Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program
Email: [email protected]
https://barnabasfund.org/en/news/over-300-nigerian-christians-slain-in-merciless-killing-spree-by-fulani-militants-since?fbclid=IwAR2hvA89wgzNgfz6fbOxvl7HDQYYeSCMCvJZP6TmeNOQGmvHwU6mPEUsIBM(over 300 Christians killed in Feb and March 2019)
http://saharareporters.com/2019/01/02/herders-murder-14-raze-houses-plateau%E2%80%8B (Herders murder 14, six others in Plateau)
https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/5088-hundreds_displaced_as_fulani_herdsmen_attack_communities.html(Dozens feared dead, hundreds displaced in herders attacks on Adamawa communities)
https://leadership.ng/2019/03/15/8-killed-56-injured-in-taraba-post-election-violence/ (Eight killed, 56 injured in post election anti Christian violence in Taraba State)
Seventeen Christians killed by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in Benue State on 20thFebruary 2019 in Ebete, Usha Ward, Agatu Local council area of the State. See This Day Live Newspaper of 20thFeb 2019.
Ten Christians killed in late hours of Tuesday, 19th March 2019 in Tse Ioreleegeb, Babai council ward of Guma local government area of the State. See the Vanguard Newspaper of 20th March 2019.
Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue State on 26th Jan 2019 disclosed that 15 Christians were killed by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen on 23rd Jan 2019 in Gwer West, Markudi, Guma and Logo LGAs of the State. See Punch Newspaper of Jan 26, 2019.
https://elombah.com/suspected-herdsmen-kill-four-farmers-in-benue-state/?fbclid=IwAR2P9xet1iWgHDAhmD945KZRehUipZ-UzjW3gI66kKec6Fl4-SIY9QkDVjQ (herdsmen kill four Christians in Benue)
http://dailypost.ng/2019/03/28/suspected-herdsmen-ambush-kogi-communities-kill-three-injure-one/?fbclid=IwAR2vvcAlRQj2H5yrb3Gmsy-4iz4vknC_nkooepjc2fxVmTSCrupe-Vx7gW0 (Herdsmen kill three, critically injure one in Kogi State)
http://metrovoicenews.com/whole-christian-villages-wiped-out-media-silent/?fbclid=IwAR2Soxelro3D9d5zDAm8F44pjb8OYFNI5Y_g8avOjCJx8C_tQscSW3LWHqc (Whole Christian Villages Wiped Out in Nigeria, Media Silent)
https://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/africa/item/31824-silent-slaughter-media-quiet-as-muslims-kill-hundreds-of-christians-in-nigeria?fbclid=IwAR0vsqPzMUkNtQVpNN59tsXEXiQCjTSWJZ9nKts8qj7yxFXpdQ23E5PkgaI (Silent Slaughter, Media Quiet as Muslims kill Hundreds of Xians in Nigeria)
http://metrovoicenews.com/300-nigerian-christians-killed-world-silent/?fbclid=IwAR1yI__EuSPbQyemAaua7-49fMJI6OMvUX6zCSkqXOmtVrNQEtO1SpVATU4(300 Nigerian Christian killed, World Silent)
https://barnabasfund.org/en/news/over-300-nigerian-christians-slain-in-merciless-killing-spree-by-fulani-militants-since?fbclid=IwAR2qfT__Osysrdw-SV3z5CsgQ4dWKiP0OK9O5NyjslhW6hu6JYcGhmeWpjs (Over 300 Nigerian Christians slain in merciless killing spree by Fulani militants since February)
https://www.christianpost.com/news/120-people-killed-140-homes-destroyed-by-nigeria-fulani-since-february.html (120 people killed, 140 homes destroyed by Nigeria Fulani since February)