ACLJ Submits Report to U.N. on "Violence" in Nigeria That Has "Resulted in Five Million Christians Being Forced From Their Homes"


Jordan Sekulow

July 21, 2023

4 min read

Persecuted Church



As part of our international advocacy at the United Nations on behalf of the persecuted Christians around the world, we have filed another report at the U.N. detailing Christian persecution in Nigeria.

Under the U.N. Human Rights Council’s mechanism called Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Human Rights Council reviews each Member State of the U.N. about every five years. This review deals with the situation of human rights in the country being reviewed and specific recommendations dealing with issues of concern are made to the country by other countries, NGOs, and the Human Rights Council. NGOs are also invited to provide information and make recommendations.

Through our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), located in Strasbourg, France, which has Consultative Status with the U.N., we submit dozens of reports and participate in oral interventions at the U.N. every year.

Nigeria is among the 14 countries being reviewed at the 45th session of the UPR. Ranked as the 6th most dangerous country for Christians due to the violent and deadly attacks by Islamic militant groups, Nigeria is on the top of the list of countries for which we regularly intervene at the U.N. as well as before our own government.

In our UPR report that we just filed, we informed the U.N. Human Rights Council:

Since 2009, more than 52,250 Christians have been killed in Nigeria at the hands of Islamic militants. During this same period, more than 18,000 churches and 2,200 schools have been burned down. This violence has also resulted in five million Christians being forced from their homes and living in refugee camps.

. . .

In 2022, Christians in Nigeria accounted for 90% of all Christians who were killed because of their faith. This represents a 10% increase from 2021 when Christians in Nigeria accounted for 80% of Christians murdered worldwide.

In addition to these statistics, our report detailed the recent escalation of violence and referenced several individual cases of murderous attacks against Christians.

For instance:

[N]o fewer than 700 defenseless Christians were killed at the hands of Fulani herdsmen in May 2023 alone. Additionally, the report noted that between April 12, 2023, and June 12, 2023, no fewer than 1,100 Christians were killed by Islamic jihadist groups. During that same period, the Islamic jihadists also destroyed 100 churches and attacked twenty pastors. These numbers represent an average of seventeen Christians being killed each day.

Our report specifically mentioned the June 2023 abductions of Father Marcellus Nwaohuocha, Father Jeremiah Yakubu, and Father Stanislaus Mbamara. Another Catholic priest was shot and killed in the same month. Also in June 2023, 46 Christians were killed over a two-day period by Fulani militants in Benue State.

In May 2023, several communities were attacked by Fulani militants. Hundreds were killed, many villages were destroyed, and thousands of Christians were displaced from their homes.

These are just a few of the many attacks highlighted by our report available here.

In our recommendations, we stated:

Nigeria continues to fail to protect innocent Christians. Every day there are new reports of Christians being attacked, killed, and their villages being burned down. It is of utmost importance that Nigeria take immediate steps to protect Christians and stop the senseless violence. We also ask that Nigeria engage with the international community to help in this endeavor. Additionally, in order for Christians to have a future in Nigeria, the government must provide aid and support so that displaced victims can safely return to their homes.

In addition to submitting this report, we also organized a special event this year at the U.N. in Geneva and partnered with our friends at Jubilee Campaign to invite Nigerian lawyers to raise the issue of Christian persecution in Nigeria. Full details of the event can be found here.

At the ACLJ, we will continue to fight for our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria and around the world.