A non-partisan Christian organisation, International Christian Concern, has listed Nigeria among the most dangerous places for Christians in the world.
ICC in its 2023 report on Christian persecutors in the world, said that extremists and militants have been killing Christians in the country and dispossessing them of their lands in the last 20 years.
The organisation stated that Nigerian leaders have tied the attacks around farmer/herders clashes laced with ethnic conflicts. However, the ICC’s report described the killings and other atrocities as “genocide against Christians.”
It partly read, “Nigeria is arguably the most dangerous place to be a Christian in the world today. In the North, a very hostile group of Muslim extremists have attacked and devastated the minority population of Christians. In the Middle Belt, armed Islamic terrorists, known as Fulani militants, have been killing Christians and stealing their land at a prodigious rate for the last 20 years.
“Between mass murder and land stealing, millions of Christians have been displaced. Since May 2011, Boko Haram alone has been recorded as being responsible for more than 38,000 deaths. Nigerian leaders tell the West that this is a complicated problem between herders and farmers with tribal overlays. But the truth is that we are witnessing a genocide of Christians in the North and Middle Belt, accompanied by an immense land grab.”
The ICC report also said no fewer than 549 Christians were killed in 55 attacks in Nigeria between March and July 2023.
“Whether the world acknowledges the plight of Nigerian Christians or not, the country has become a burial ground for Christians, ” the report added
The report noted that Sharia law practiced in 12 northern states has endangered non-Muslims in those states.
It said, “Sharia law, as applied today in Nigeria, violates the principles of secularism and endangers non-Muslim religious communities in the northern and Middle Belt regions. Despite repeatedly claiming to be a secular nation, 12 northern states in Nigeria have adopted Islamic Sharia criminal law, meaning that Christians do not participate as equal members of society. Given its inherently religious nature, Sharia is problematic when applied particularly when they are charged under criminal Sharia law. ”
The organisation called on the United States of America to add Nigeria back to the list of countries with severe violations of religious freedom.
It stated, “Nigerian domestic security policy addresses the needs of particularly vulnerable religious communities by responding to threats quickly and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice.
“That Nigeria be added back to the Countries of Particular Concern list designation it held in 2020 before inexplicably being removed in 2021. USCIRF has recommended that Nigeria be listed as a country of Particular Concern every year since 2009.
“That U.S. foreign aid in Nigeria be conditioned on substantial Improvement around religious freedom, including the repeal of blasphemy laws and rescinding Sharia courts’ authority over criminal matters.”
North Korea, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, Eritrea, Algeria, Indonesia, and Azerbaijan are other countries listed by the organisation as being oppressive towards Christians.