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World News

Nigerian election: Candidates promises 'not enough' as more Christians killed every year than anywhere else combined

by Sophie Drew

The polls have closed in Nigeria but it could take days to learn which election candidate is set to become the next president. 

Faith groups – mainly Christians and Muslims – are considered to be one of the key voting blocks that could swing the result. 

Christians in the country are likely to make security a priority. Persecution charities have warned of rocketing rates of violence against Christians from terrorist organisations, particularly in the north of the country. 

Followers of Christ have been left desperate for Government action, with many criticising the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari for not taking a strong enough stance against the so-called Islamic State and Fulani militia. 

“I think that's a bit of an understatement,” says Release International’s Andrew Boyd. 

Having just returned from Nigeria, he knows all too well how Christians have been left feeling hopeless by those currently in charge.

He said: “The problem is that they've done very little to create stability and security in that country.

“…So no, Christians are not impressed with the current government. Security has got worse.

“More Christians are killed because they're targeted for being Christians in Nigeria than in the rest of the world put together every year. That's an incredibly stark statistic. 

“How could they be impressed with that? There has to be a decisive change in that country and security must become the number one issue.” 

Andrew’s calls to prioritise security are shared across Nigeria, but when it comes to the elections, he doesn’t believe candidates are talking about it enough.

In 2022, Nigeria saw multiple devastating attacks on Christians. In June, at least 40 people were killed in a mass shooting at a church in the Ondo state. 

The area had been considered to be mostly peaceful, with the majority of the attacks taking place in the north where Islamic State and Boko Haram militants are rife. No group has yet claimed responsibility but the federal government has pointed the finger at ISWAP – the west Africa branch of IS. 

Prior to the Ondo state attack, student Deborah Samuel Yakubu was killed by a mob in a stairwell after praising Jesus in a group chat. She was accused of blasphemy. 

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