Islamic oppression Nigeria | 08 August 2023

Nigeria: No national or international commitment to end Islamic oppression in Benue state?

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On 16 July 2023, gunmen on motorcycles accompanied armed Fulani herdsmen to attack the predominantly Christian villages of Igba-Ukyor and Tse Baka villages, in Ushongo County, Benue State. As reported by Morning Star News on 21 July 2023, 6 Christians were killed, the latest of 37 killed in the past three weeks.

On 20 July 2023, Catholic NGO “Church in Need” published a testimony prepared by Bishop Wilfred Anagbe of the Diocese of Makurdi in Benue state, for a hearing before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs held on 18 July 2023. In the testimony, the Bishop explained how since 2014 he had to close 14 parishes because of insecurity caused by Islamic militants “masquerading” as herdsmen. With a Christian population of 97% in Benue state, he pointed to the killings, destruction of churches, schools, clinics, local markets and farms and claimed this meets the UN criteria for genocide. He stated how disheartening it was, that neither the national government nor international stakeholders have shown any convincing signs of commitment to bring this Islamist aggression to an end.

Frans Veerman, Managing Director of World Watch Research, comments: “The bishop speaks clearly of one-sided attacks in Benue State and not of ‘clashes’ as Western media tend to do. When questioned as to whether the killings are truly faith-motivated, the bishop points to the so-called Abuja Islamic Declaration of 1989 (East African Center for Law and Justice, 3 June 2010) and concludes: ‘The blatant killing and displacement of Christian communities in Nigeria is done in fulfillment of the long-time promise by fundamentalist Islamic groups in Nigeria bent on ‘dipping the Quran into the Atlantic Ocean’: a euphemism for conquering the Christian states of the Middle Belt and southern regions of Nigeria.’ The bishop is saddened by the inaction and ‘conspiracy of silence’ surrounding the attacks on Nigeria’s Christians. World Watch Research supports his call for the appointment of a Special Envoy to the Sub-Saharan Region of Africa to investigate the situation in Benue state in more detail.”


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