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Nigerian bishop claims extremists are targeting Christians

by Alex Collett
Maiduguri Diocese - Banner image
Maiduguri Diocese

A Nigerian bishop has told EU parliamentarians that extremists are targeting Christians in the eastern Benue State.

Bishop Wilfred Anagbe of Makurdi, who was speaking during a trip to Europe organised by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), stressed that religion is a key factor in the conflict.

He said that "the attacks - particularly in Benue State - increasingly look like a jihad against Christians."

Benue State sits within Nigeria's Middle Belt where millions have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) largely because of attacks by extremist nomadic Fulani herders.

Bishop Anagbe went on to say that "even though the outside world knows the extent of the ongoing killings and displacement of Christian communities in Nigeria, there exists what I term a conspiracy of silence. 

"However, what is happening now is beyond conspiracy, it is rather openly supporting, aiding and abetting the perpetrators of these acts as no one culprit is ever arrested."

The prelate told said that Benue is targeted because the majority of its people have steadfastly declared their will not to surrender their Judeo-Christian faith, identity and cultural values to Islam.

He disclosed the figures of people affected within the region adding "Figures from the Benue State government again reveal that as of June 2022, Benue State has suffered over 200 attacks with property worth over 500 billion destroyed and close to two million people displaced and living in camps across the State." 

Nigeria has seen many Christians persecuted for their faith in the past year including the abduction of several priests, a young girl being stoned to death and then set on fire for alleged blasphemy, and a Pentecost Sunday church attack in western Nigeria, which left more than 40 dead. 

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