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Northeastern Nigeria, an area severely affected by Boko Haram banner.jpg
Northeastern Nigeria, an area severely affected by Boko Haram.jpg
USA News

'The most violent place on earth to be a Christian': US urged to reinstate Nigeria as country of concern

by Heather Preston

The US State Department is being urged to reinstate Nigeria as a 'country of particular concern', as more Christians are being killed there than anywhere else on earth.

It comes after the US Secretary of State removed it from the list last month - something the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has called 'appalling'.

Reports from persecution charity Release International state that 17 Christians are murdered in the African country every day and "mass killings are now a national emergency."

Christians there are being massacred on a near daily basis in targeted attacks by armed Fulani militants, Boko Haram terrorists, and other armed radicals, according to the charity. 

Spokesperson Andrew Boyd tells Premier: "They attack the villages by night, they fire shots, they drive villagers out, and they lie in wait for them with machetes. I've seen the victims of this in displaced camps, including children. It's absolutely appalling to see."

Boyd says the Nigerian government is doing "precious little" to protect Christian minorities and that these attacks are part of a plan to 'Islamise' the country. 

"The US State Department, who delisted the country has quotes from Nigerians who say this [violence] is an attempt to turn Nigeria into a Islamic nation and an attempt to deliberately stir up a religious war in that country."

The delisting of Nigeria as a country of particular concern removes international pressure on the Nigerian government, according to Boyd and could lead to further attacks and instability for the nation.

"It looks as though it may be lurching in the direction of civil war. Now that may be somewhere down the line. But this is building and more and more people are being killed."

Release International partner and Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, together with the Anglican Church of Nigeria Director of Communications Hassan John, and ChinaAid is calling on the international community to stand up and take notice.

In an appeal to the United States administration Kwashi writes: "Mass killings - the kind that used to be sporadic - are now a national emergency."

International pressure is needed "to stop the slow-motion war unfolding in Nigeria… where more Christians are being killed than anywhere else on the face of the earth." 

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