|Wednesday, July 20, 2022|
n egalitarian Nigerian nation is one in which every person is treated equally irrespective of their tribe and religion. This is in consonance with the aspirations and wishes of our founding fathers which were clearly and concisely enunciated and stated in some of the words of the first Nigerian national anthem, which are quoted here below:
"Though tribe and tongue may differ in brotherhood we stand,
"O God of all creation, help us to build a nation where no man is oppressed,"
Nigeria is supposedly a secular state. However, Christians have become practically an endangered species in their own country within this current Presidency. In putting together this article, I did some small-time research to collate information from both local and international sources.
A few local reports from June 2022 are presented, as given below:
Attacks on Christians: Killings of worshippers during mass on Sunday morning, June 5th, at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street
According to NigeriaWorld of June 9, 2022, the National security Council has blamed the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) for the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, that led to the death of about 40 persons on June 5. Terrorists opened fire on worshippers on entering the church. What is obvious is that the killers did not come to steal or kidnap but deliberately to kill the worshippers.
Helicopter attack by bandits in Kaduna on Sunday, June 5
Gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, attacked some communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing at least 32 villagers. They reportedly invaded the Ungwan Gamu, Dogon Noma, Ungwan Sarki and Maikori communities with a helicopter, also burnt several houses. The District Head of Kufena, Titus Dauda, told Channels Television that the attacks occurred on Sunday and that 32 people were killed while a church and several houses were destroyed in the process.
According to NigeriaWorld of Thursday, June 9, 2022, Apostle Johnson Suleman of Omega Fire Ministries reacted to the alleged use of a helicopter by terrorists in Southern Kaduna by saying that it shows that Christians are not safe in Nigeria.
Killing of Catholic Priests across Nigeria
As reported on Monday, 18th July 2022, of THIS DAY: on Sunday, July 17, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor, complained about the abduction and killing of priests in Nigeria. He said: "Catholic priests are Christ's representatives on earth, killing them amounts to killing Christ a second time.
"You are abducting and killing them because they are doing Christ's work on earth? What wrong have they done? It is really abominable to maim a priest. Why go after a hapless servant of God? Someone who has left everything for the sake of God's people. Priests deserve to be protected, encouraged and motivated. "Their cries will reach the heavens and the heavens will fight their battles. Nigeria Government should be very careful."
Speaking on the decision to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Ezeokafor said it was unacceptable in a secular state like Nigeria, describing it as a height of insensitivity and wickedness.
"You cannot come to a state like Nigeria with many different religions and be talking about Muslim-Muslim ticket. Are they saying that there is no competent Christian in the North? I'm sure there are many of them, even the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, is a Christian. They choose to ignore him and many other Christians in the North.
"There must be a balance in everything. These are some of the things that are causing so much agitation here and there. Nigerians should rise and condemn it. Nigeria is not a Muslim country. We have two major religions; Christianity and Islam. There are others too. Why settle for one religion if you do not have a hidden agenda," he asked.
From International Press
Two excerpts of two articles from the international press are reported in the next paragraphs.
The Horrific Killing of Christians in Nigeria, taken from an article by Patrick Tyrrell / December 02, 2020
Horrific massacres of Christians in the northern and middle parts of Nigeria at the hands of Muslim militants and terrorists have been a daily occurrence in recent years.
Over 11,500 Christians have been murdered in Nigeria since June 2015 as Genocide Watch reported in April, 2020. The perpetrators of the killings are Islamist terrorists from Boko Haram (also known as the Islamic State in West Africa), who seek to create a state like the so-called caliphate that took hold in parts of Iraq and Syria between 2014 and 2015.
Increasingly, the attackers have included another group, militant nomadic Fulani herdsmen who raid villages and kill Christian men, women, children, and babies with AK-47s and machetes. Nigeria should protect the rule of law by using its military to confront and crush the perpetrators.
As the entry on Nigeria in The Heritage Foundation's 2020 Index of Economic Freedom shows, the country is among the worst in the world in supporting the rule of law. The most heinous forms of cruelty and brutality go unopposed. Terror reigns in Christian villages.
A new book titled "The Next Jihad: Stop the Christian Genocide in Africa" documents atrocities and warns that all-out genocide could happen if Nigeria's government and the world's media organizations do not stop turning a blind eye to what is going on.
Ref: The Horrific Killing of Christians in Nigeria (dailysignal.com)
Christians Killed in Nigeria, by Mauricio Luque, July 6, 2022
Jihadist violence is rampant in Nigeria. Some of the killings are listed below.
Also, there was the accusation made by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah in January 2020, when he said that the Nigerian government was "like Boko Haram but without bombs", alluding to the apparent lack of interest shown from Abuja in the face of the silent genocide. Since the beginning of Buhari's government, attacks have increased but no additional security measures have been imposed to protect religious services, while the culprits flee with impunity in most of the attacks. More than 17,000 Christians have been killed since Buhari came to power in 2015.
Reference: Christians killed in Nigeria | The All I Need
The Danger posed by the Islamic State in West Africa (ISIS) taking over Nigeria
As stated by Patrick Tyrrell in his article, excerpts of which are published in the preceding paragraph, the Islamic State seeks to create a state like the so-called caliphate which was located in parts of Iraq and Syria between 2014 and 2015 until they were routed by the Americans. Their activities in Nigeria in recent times have been almost unchallenged such that the danger of the takeover of our country cannot be ignored. Some of their activities include the following:
The Attack on the Kuje Prison, Abuja, on Tuesday night, July 5, 2022
In the NigeriaWorld of July 7, 2022, Mallam Tukur Mamu, an aide to the Islamic cleric Ahmad Gumi, was reportedly quoted as stating: "I shared intelligence about Kuje prison attack, nothing was done to avert the attack. He claimed that it was carried out by the same terrorist group that attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train in March. He also claimed that he had helped to negotiate the release of 11 hostages who were abducted from the Kaduna-bound train but 51 of the hostages are still with the terror group. However, he explained that the terrorists had earlier demanded the release of 10 of their members in Kuje prison in exchange for the remaining victims of the attacked Kaduna-bound train. Mamu claimed that the attack on Kuje prison was caused by the failure of the Federal Government to act which led to the attackers releasing at least 64 of their members from prison on Tuesday night.
ISWAP claims responsibility for the Attack
In the Nigeriaworld of Thursday July 7, 2022, it was reported that "ISWAP claims audacious attack on Kuje Prison, releases video"
The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility for the audacious attack on Kuje Prison in Abuja, Nigeria's capital. In a 38 second video released Wednesday night; the terrorist group showed some of its men shooting their way into the facility as they chanted: Allahu Akbar!
President Buhari visited the prison and expressed disappointment in the security agencies to have allowed the attack to succeed. He was said to be shocked by both the scale and audacity of the attack queried: "How did the defences at the prison fail to prevent the attack?
"How many inmates were in the facility? How many of them can you account for? How many personnel did you have on duty? How many of them were armed?
"Were there guards on the watchtower? What did they do? Does the CCTV work?"
After inspecting some of the points damaged in the attack, President Buhari spoke to newsmen, expressing disappointment with the intelligence system (and utilization). He reportedly said: "I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?"
A short Review of the Failed Security in Nigeria
In the NigeriaWorld issue of Saturday, April 23, 2022, the following publication was featured:
"Attention Military: Over 100 terrorists' hideouts identified in Nigeria, for your necessary action:
The abduction of 276 female students in Chibok, Borno state in April 2014 by Boko Haram insurgents was the first of such abductions in the history of this country. And the outrage that followed the abduction both within and outside the country was such that the Goodluck Jonathan's administration never recovered from the incident as the ghost of the abduction continued to haunt the government until they left office in 2015.
The then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, led by General Muhammadu Buhari seized the momentum and made tackling insecurity as one of its three-point agenda. In fact, the APC vowed to crush insurgency within three months of assuming office. But seven years after coming into office, the little wound that the APC inherited from the People's Democratic Party, PDP has become so festered that it is now threatening to consume the entire nation.
It is not considered necessary to pursue further the discussion of the general failure of security in the country because the objective of this article is to focus on the lot of Christians. It has been included to underscore the inexcusable failure of the current Presidency to protect the country.
With the killings continuing in Nigeria and the killers in the various forests, the next actions in their ill-fated and doomed plan of eradicating Christianity in the country will be the introduction of Sharia laws throughout the country. This could foreshadow the closing down of churches and illegalisation of Christianity. Such legislations from the National Assembly could be easily effected with a Moslem-Moslem Presidency because the check and balances that should exist in a Moslem-Christian or Christian-Moslem Presidency will have been removed. Therefore, the Moslem-Moslem Presidency has the potential of becoming the genesis of the illegalisation of Christianity in Nigeria. This is one of the reasons for all Christians to rise up and oppose the Moslem-Moslem Presidential ticket.
Sadly, again the warning to external European election observers in February 2019 that they would go back to their countries in body bags if they persisted in discussing the flaws of the last general election is a reminder that our national elections cannot stand up to impartial scrutiny. Therefore, suggesting that election should be the final arbiter is not a safe option because the elections themselves cannot be guaranteed to be safe, free and fair.
The Warning of the Turkey experience
Turkey was a Christian country, the birthplace of Saul of Tarsus, who became St. Paul, the foremost Christian disciple and evangelist. Today, under 0.1 percent of Turkey's population is Christian. The collapse of Turkey's Christian communities is reportedly as a result of decades-long persecution that includes genocide, expulsions, pogroms, and official discrimination. Reference: "Protestant Christians in Turkey Exposed to Discrimination, Deportations, Hate Speech (providencemag.com). Uzay Bulut, May 16, 2022.
Therefore, this Turkey experience could be a timely warning to Nigerian Christians of the potential extermination they face because of a Moslem-Moslem Presidency. At this point in time, the Christians are facing the genocide and pogrom phase because of the inexcusable failure of the Federal Government to protect such Nigerian citizens.
To the Nigerian Christian leaders who choose to keep quiet and accept the Muslim-Muslim Presidential ticket which could lead to the extinction of Christianity in this country, we need to recall the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 10:33: "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
The Presidency and the Security Forces
On July 7, when he spoke to the press during his visit to inspect the breached Kuje Prison, the President was quoted as saying: "I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?"
Mr. President, Sir, it might be suggested that the disappointment should be with the failure of the government and security forces by being unable to eliminate and flush out the bandits, herdsmen and men of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) who now reside in over 100 locations in Nigerian forests. With impunity they walked into the Kaduna Airport and killed a staff. On a different day, they bombed a train and took Nigerians as hostages. Most recently, they attacked the Kuje prison and released their colleagues. Again, from their hideouts, they go out to kill and kidnap Christians in various parts of the country when they wish. From the gradual increase in the scale and level of their atrocities, it is probable that their objective could be the taking over of our country, introducing Sharia laws everywhere, and establishing Nigeria as a caliphate. Your Excellency Sir, all these are happening under your watch in the country that you took the oath of office to defend and protect.
The overarching objectives of this write-up are as follows:
To underline the fact that the country should remain a secular state such that the rights of Christian to life and free practice of their faith should be protected and assured.
To request Christians to watch and pray because the ill-advised Moslem-Moslem Presidential ticket could be a forewarning of danger of more actions and legislations that could engender the extinction of Christianity in Nigeria.
Lastly, moreover, under the watch of this Presidency, Nigerians are being killed in their thousands and their killers lurch in our forests. So far, the President has failed as the commander-in-chief of Nigerian Armed Forces to flush them out from their forest hideouts. The current killings and genocide against Nigerian Christians could be analogous to the pogrom that was visited on Christians in Turkey before their extinction was completed with legislations.