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Christians are facing a 'slow genocide' in Nigeria, Anglican bishop warns

by Kelly Valencia

The Archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging people to pray for Christians in Nigeria. 

In a tweet, Most Rev Justin Welby referenced a recent speech by the Anglican Primate of Nigeria warning of the situation for Christians there and those persecuted for their faith around the world. 

During a speech at the G20 Religion Forum (R20) International Summit of Religious Leaders, Most Rev Dr Henry Ndukuba said thousands of people have been killed by well-organised, and well-funded extremist groups. 

According to Bishop Henry, over 150 villages have been sacked and thousands have been kidnapped for sex and ransom.

Mervyn Thomas, president of advocacy charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide, told Premier unless authorities there accept the violence is "religiously motivated", the situation won't change. 

"I accept that there are complicated other issues around this, such as climate change and resources, but the major driver is religion. And until that's recognised, they won't actually deal with the situation. 

"What's needed is security for villages and Christians around the central belt and in the northern part. Attacks are happening and the authorities are standing by and watching rather than dealing with it. So it's extremely serious. I've been saying, at least for two years now that this could be the next Rwanda. It's it really is becoming a lawless state."

A recent report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law revealed at least 4,000 Christians have been killed and at least 2,315 people have been abducted by Islamist jihadists between January and October this year. 

The group attributed the attacks to the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram, Ansaru, as well as Fulani herdsmen and bandits.

Thomas encouraged Christians to write to their MPs.

"Prayer is that is the most important thing that we can do. But prayer by itself is not enough," he said. "Write to your members in Parliament and say, 'what is the British Government doing about the situation?' 

"The other thing we can pray for is…Nigeria is holding elections, there'll be a new president. We need to pray that the right people get in power who recognize what the reasons are for this for this situation and actually get to grips with it." 

According to Open Doors, Nigeria is currently the most violent country for Christians. 

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