Intersociety Nigeria released a report last week that over 3,400 Christians have been put to death by Nigeria’s Islamic Jihadists since January 2021. This nearly exceeds the number of Christian deaths reported by Open Doors USA for all of 2020.
These deaths to no fewer than 3,462 (from January 1 to July 18, 2021) represent the second-highest since 2014 and averages seventeen Christian deaths daily when Boko Haram and Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen allegedly killed over 5,000 Christians.
In the same report released by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) based in Anambra, at least 3,000 Christians have been abducted, ten priests and 300 churches have been attacked.
Communities in Nigeria’s farming-rich Middle belt have a troubling trend in the attacks by northeast Islamic extremists and radicalized Fulani herders, which raised the alarm with global human rights activists that prompted the report released by the said organization.
Statistical Data Sources
Intersociety, which Christian criminologist Emeka Umeagbalasi leads, compiles statistical data based on government accounts, credible local and foreign media reports, eyewitness accounts, and international rights groups. Intersociety describes itself as a “research and investigative rights group which has been monitoring and investigating religious persecution and other forms of religious violence by state and non state actors across Nigeria since 2010.”
There is a possibility that death tolls are skewed because of the lack of adequate government record keeping.
The group estimates that Benue state has 450 recorded deaths, followed by Kaduna state with 410 Christian deaths.
Concerned individuals have accused the Nigerian government of its inability to protect its citizens.
Open Door World Watch List 2021 lists Nigeria as No. 9 in the Christian persecution globally because of an “extreme” degree of Islamic oppression.
Furthermore, human rights activists warn that insurgent groups feel no sense of accountability for their actions for kidnappings.
There has been a rise in Jihadi attacks in West Africa since 2021 with Nigeria on top of the list, Christian Concern, a United States-based Christian persecution watch group, reports.
These attacks against Christians are a means for Islamic terrorist groups to impose a caliphate and Islamic Sharia law.
Nigeria Rankings on Global Terrorism
Nigeria ranks third in the Global Terrorism Index. This shows that the country is the third most affected by terrorism in the global arena. For instance, more than 22,000 were killed by terror attacks from 2001 to 2019.
Nigeria’s violence is equating to the standard for genocide. Furthermore, the U.S. State Department lists Nigeria as the first democratic nation to be included in “countries of particular concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act.
A U.S. Commission on International and Religious Freedom spokesperson warned in its 2021 annual report that Nigeria “will move relentlessly toward a Christian genocide” if action is not taken quickly.
“When the world and the U.S. ignored … [the] genocide in Rwanda, hundreds of thousands of people died,” former Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said in a panel discussion on Nigeria earlier this month hosted by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“History is repeating itself,” he added.
Last year, a statement was released by the Nigerian presidency that activist groups who claim Nigeria has religious genocide are beneficiaries of funds from separatist groups. However, this was refuted by some activist groups.