There are calls for the Nigerian government to give urgent help to Christian farmers in order to prevent a food crisis.
Christian charities are concerned that the unrelenting attacks against Christian communities, causing them to be driven from their land, will have a detrimental impact on the availability of food.
Speakers at a conference recently hosted by partners of UK-based Release International warned repeatedly of genocide. The figures compiled by the Stefanos Foundation in Nigeria estimate almost 42,000 Nigerian Christians have been killed since 2001 due to violence.
The charity said last year militant Fulani Islamists carried out 686 attacks against Nigerian communities, killing 4,357 people and abducting more than 1,900 others.
The conference warned that the seizing of farmlands by militant Fulani cattle herders would result in food shortages and urged the government to resettle displaced farmers.
Religious freedom campaigner Mark Lipdo said: “Unless the displaced farmers can be resettled in their ancestral lands there will be a food shortage in Nigeria in the days to come.
“These attacks are being seen by local Nigerians as a jihad, like the jihad of 200 years ago. This is why they are targeting Christmas and targeting churches. The Fulani are continuing the legacy of the ancestors. What is happening is a religious war.
“It is taking over the whole of Nigeria. Fulani militants are roaming around with heavy firearms. And nothing is being done by the authorities. We are hoping the authorities will come to their senses.”
It’s estimated 30 people died last week in an attack on two counties in Plateau State. Over the Christmas period, targeted attacks by Fulani militia in mostly Christian villages left around 238 people dead.