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Maiduguri Diocese
Maiduguri Diocese
World News

New report says murders of Christians in Nigeria is paving the way for genocide

by Tola Mbakwe

A new report has highlighted the large scale of atrocities happening to Christians in Nigeria. 

The UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief (APPG FoRB) launched its report in parliament on Monday urging the UK government to pay attention and take action to stop the violence. 

The report Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide? focuses on the mass murders at the hands of terror group Boko Haram and armed groups of Muslim Fulani herdsmen.

Boko Haram is the militant group which frequently abduct and kill those in northern states in Nigeria who refuse to conform to their extremist brand of Islam. Teenage schoolgirl Leah Sharibu is one of many examples. 

Meanwhile "attacks by armed groups of Fulani herdsmen have resulted in the killing, maiming, dispossession and eviction of thousands of Christians" in Middle Belt states the report says. 

Baroness Caroline Cox, co-chair of APPG FoRB told Premier there have been at least 1,000 deaths this year due to such violence and at least 6,000 deaths since 2015. More than 2.5 million Nigerians have been driven from their homes. 

"Every statistic is a family, is a horror. Last year I was there. I had the poignant privilege of meeting a young mum, and she'd been with a little six year old daughter, then Fulani attacked a village," she said. 

"She tried to escape. She was surrounded by them, they slashed her with a machete. I saw the scars. Now, I'm afraid there are a huge number of examples.

"I remember speaking to another mum. They had amputated her arm. She put her hand up to protect her face and they cut her with a machete and all her fingers fell down in front her. She can't do anything. She's got no arm on the left hand side and no fingers on the right hand side."

Baroness Cox said the UK government has tended to "downplay" the ideological and religious factors that are involved in the murders and attribute it other factors such as climate change, as the herdsman look to take better unaffected land. 

While she doesn't deny climate change plays a roll, she said it doesn't explain the "scale of horror of the atrocities being perpetrated to predominantly against Christians".

"We hope our government will eventually recognise this for what it is and raise the matter seriously with the government of Nigeria to fulfil its duty to provide for and protected civilians," Baroness Cox added.

"The government of Nigeria so far has not done that, and has therefore failed to look after its civilians and in some cases reportedly has sided with the Islamists as well.

"And they certainly have not been good at getting their military, their police, there in time to save the villagers. They often they come after the attack. It is a situation that the government of Nigeria needs to respond and also call the perpetrators to account."

On 4th July 2018, the Nigerian House of Representatives declared killings in predominantly-Christian villages in Plateau State to be a genocide and called on the Federal Government to immediately establish orphanages in areas affected by violence.

Earlier this month Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's office announced that soldiers have killed 1,400 fighters over the past two months.

After a series of recent killings Buhari's spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the president condemned the violence.

"As news of one of the most brutal terrorist attacks on innocent people emerged from the Northeast, President Muhammadu Buhari said he is deeply shocked by the brutal killing of tens of people by the Boko Haram/Islam in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Gubio village, Borno State," he tweeted.

Listen to Premier's interview with Baroness Caroline Cox here:

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