Just last week, “[t]he governor of the Boko Haram-infected Borno state in northeast Nigeria” stated that “Boko Haram’s violence has impacted over 100,000 people. . . . [and is] responsible for the creation of 59,311 orphans and 59,123 widows throughout its existence.”
Indeed, Nigeria has become an excruciating epicenter of violence against Christians in recent years, with 2020 already indicating there’s no sign of it slowing down without a massive global intervention effort.
Violent Islamic radicals continue to attack, abduct, and murder innocent Christians simply because of their faith. Not even children are safe from the deadly persecution.
The ACLJ is continually working to defend Nigerian Christians currently living a nightmare of violence and aggression every day.
We just filed a critical written submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) through our European office, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), urging immediate action, as is the duty of the U.N. in the face of an ongoing violent human rights crisis.
As we stated in our submission:
Nigeria is experiencing a humanitarian crisis and a rapidly deteriorating situation for Christians who are increasingly the targets of religiously motivated violence. In fact, the government of the United States stated in a press release dated 20 December 2019, that it has added Nigeria to a “Special Watch list” for countries that have “engaged in or tolerated ‘systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.’”
We went on to urge the HRC to unite in action immediately, in accordance with the stated purpose of the United Nations:
We respectfully call to this Council’s attention that, pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations, the very purpose of the United Nations is to “maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression . . . .”
We recently told you how in just the first few weeks of this new year, deadly Islamic terrorists executed a Christian Pastor by beheading. Only weeks prior to his death, Pastor Lawan Andimi was shown in a hostage video released by Boko Haram – the Nigerian jihadist militia pledged to ISIS – telling his loved ones “Don’t cry. Don’t worry. But thank God for everything.” Pastor Lawan showed unflappable faith, saying:
“By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife, my children, and my colleagues. [But] if the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God . . . . I have never been discouraged because all conditions that one finds himself in is in the hands of God.”
We also told you how in that same week the notorious Fulani herdsmen attacked a village on motorcycles, mercilessly shooting and killing two Christian teenage girls.
And these weren’t merely isolated incidents of violence. As we stated in our submission to the HRC, the numbers are staggering. The amount of bloodshed and atrocities committed against Christians by Islamic extremists is hard to comprehend.
The U.N. Refugee Agency estimates that Boko Haram’s terrorist activities have internally displaced over 2 million Nigerians and created 244,000 refugees. In February 2019 alone, “35,000 women, children and men . . . fled a surge of attack[s] by Boko Haram . . . .” In addition, it is estimated that Boko Haram has killed more than 37,500 people. Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS and utilises its tactics of mass killings and kidnappings to instill fear and intimidate. They target Christians and anyone else whom they see as a threat to the establishment of an Islamic State.
In addition to the deadly attacks by Boko Haram, there are reports of growing conflict in the central regions of Nigeria between the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen and the predominately Christian farmers. The Fulani herdsmen are continuing to attack Christian farmers, destroying homes, churches, and even kidnapping Christian school girls in order to marry them to Muslims.
In 2019 alone, “[m]ore than 1000 Christians [were] murdered by Islamic militants.”
We also once again appealed to the U.N. to take action on behalf of courageous young Leah Sharibu, the Christian teen who remains the prisoner of Boko Haram because of her refusal to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ, even though it could have meant her freedom, or her life. As we stated:
As we have stated in previous written submissions, Leah Sharibu remains to be held captive by Boko Haram. Leah Sharibu is a Christian teen who was kidnapped by Boko Haram in February 2018 along with 110 other girls. Five of those girls are dead and 104 were set free. Leah is the only one who remains in captivity because she refuses to deny her faith in Christ. Time is of the utmost importance for addressing Leah Sharibu’s case as she remains in serious danger and immediate action must be taken to free her before it’s too late.
Without action, the situation could become irreversible for already-endangered Christians. If these extremists have their way, Christians will either be enslaved, or driven to extinction. A s we told the Human Rights Council in our submission, the violence against Christians is already seeping beyond Nigeria’s borders into neighboring regions.
Action must be taken to not only stop the spread of violence within Nigeria but also the spread of violence in west Africa. Boko Haram has in fact already begun carrying out attacks in neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that Boko Haram activity in these three countries has created more than 550,000 IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons].
This is why we respectfully request that this Council work with [the] government of Nigeria in order to protect the people who are vulnerable to attack by preventing further attacks, prosecuting those who are responsible for these brutal atrocities, and providing aid and assistance to the victims.
All Christians must be free to live and worship without fear. No one should have to live under the fear of being abducted, enslaved, or killed because of their faith.
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