Islamic Fulani Jihad & Genocide: Who Will Save The Endangered Nigerian Christians?

The Biafra Post | July 20, 2018
First publisher: Click Here

Gen Mohammadu Buhari, Nigeria President & Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau
Playing host to two of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups: Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, both primarily targeting Christians and Christian communities, especially the Igbo ethnic group, often seen as the face of Christianity in the country. Nigeria is, perhaps, now the most dangerous place to be a believer in Christ globally.

From 2009 when Boko Haram started its campaign of terror, over 20 thousand people have been killed and properties with billions of naira destroyed. A decade on, this campaign has scarcely abated, but worse still there is now a government in place which from its actions, appear to share similar ideology of ‘jihad’ with the terrorist and things are fast getting out of hand. Sadly, the international community has largely elected to look the other side.

For years, Boko Haram held vast territories in the country’s North Eastern State of Borno, with wide influence in the neighbouring states of Adamawa, Bauchi and Yobe. The consequences have been unfathomable, the Christian communities have been purged, majority of whom now live in Internally Displaced Persons camps were government jets have yet ‘mistakenly’ bombed, with many casualties as was the case when one of such camps in Rann, Borno State was bombed in January 2017 by the country’s Air Force, an act the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari described as “regrettable operational mistake.”

But Boko Haram’s attacks has progressed from the period they were exclusively targeting Churches with the tacit support of the Muslim populace which helped their expansion, to now bombing even mosques seen not to adhere to the strict version of their Islam. Hence, it is all too common to hear of bomb blasts in mosques with attendant casualty figures. Indeed, with the disappearance of Churches, mosques as well as schools and public spaces there are more attacks in recent years. But it was not always so. For a number of years, the terrorist group targeted specifically Churches and Christian worship centres and, indeed, sorted out homes of members of the Christian communities for attacks.

The global community was thrown into a shock when, on the 25th of December 2011, the group bombed a Catholic Church at Madalla, Niger State, killing dozens of worshippers, 80 percent of whom were of course, Igbo. The attack was followed by yet another equally deadly bombing of a bus park in Nyanya Abuja in which over 100 people, mostly Southern Igbo travellers were killed in April 2014.

In the same 2014, Boko Haram caused global outrage when it kidnapped over 200 secondary school girls in Chibok, Borno. Chibok is yet another Christian community in a majority Muslim State and over 80 percent of the kidnapped girls had been Christians. Many are still missing till today. In 2018, another 106 school girls were taken in Dapchi, Adamawa State, but through government effort, the girls were freed, except one, Leah Sharibu, who is the only Christian amongst them. The terror group had refused to release her because, according to them, she would not agree to convert to Islam.

But as bad as Boko Haram is, there is yet a deadlier group, the Fulani herdsmen which has accounted for the loss of nearly 4000 lives in 2018 alone.

Only last week, over 100 people were killed in Plateau State, a state in the country’s largely Christian Middle Belt region. In the region, from Southern Kaduna where nearly a thousand people were killed in 2017, through Plateau to Benue and sometimes Kogi, all the way to the Eastern Igbo heartland where tens were murdered in Nimbo community, Enugu State in 2016, it has been a campaign of ethnic cleansing for months.

On New Year day of 2018, the herdsmen invaded Guma and Logo local governments in Benue, killing 76 people. The killings never abated. Indeed, it has continued to get worse. The New Year day attack was followed up by several others, with hundreds of lives lost, including, of course, the killing of two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers in a Church at Gwer Local Government in March 2018.

But the most gruesome attacks yet happened 2016 in Agatu area of the state when days of sustained carnage on pastural communities left over 800 people dead.

The attacks had prompted the governor of the state to enact an anti- open grazing law, which sought to ban the 19th century practice of moving around with herds of cattle by the Fulani, who apparently, now move around too with AK47 rifles in a country where it is a criminal offence to be in possession of firearms. The Fulani, with their own in power, seem very much above the law. Since their carnage started, non has been arrested much more prosecuted. But a team of Christian youths who in reprisal attack, killed one herdsman in Adamawa recently were quickly rounded up, tried, and sentenced to death… all four of those said to have been involved. Virtually all attacks by the herders have been in Christian communities.

Meanwhile, the country’s Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali, a Fulani, as well as the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and, indeed, President Buhari, have, at best, tried to rationalize the killings.

Following the spate of attacks in Benue in early 2018, Mr. Ali said the cause of the attacks was the state’s anti -open grazing law. The IGP, Idris, played it down as communal clashes even though the Fulani are never part of the community as they are not indigenous to Benue, and while the people were morning their dead, Buhari invited their leaders to Abuja to ask them to “accommodate their brothers” the Fulani.

Hardly a day passes and there is no community sacked and its inhabitants butchered in most gruesome ways in Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna in central Nigeria and many areas of the South East, the Igbo heartland in what is an offshoot of years of violent against Christians in the country.

As far back as 1953, many Southerners, especially the Igbo in Kano, North West Nigeria were murdered for supporting the idea of the country’s independence from Britain.

This was followed by the Igbo massacre of 1966 in the North in the aftermath that the counter-coup of the same year. This was a major factor in the Biafran secession and the resulting genocidal civil war in which the Nigerian side, backed by Western forces, killed over 2million Igbo.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a major Islamic uprising led by Maitatsine and his followers, Yan Tatsine that led to several thousand deaths. After Maitatsine’s death in 1980, the movement continued for some five more years. In 1991, the German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke attempted a crusade in Kano, causing a religious riot leading to the deaths of about a dozen people.

In 2002, the Nigerian journalist Isioma Daniel, an Igbo, wrote an article that led to demonstrations and violence that resulted to the deaths of over 200 in Kaduna and fatwa placed on her life. The 2002 Miss World contest was moved from Abuja to London as a result. The rest of the 2000s decade would see inter-religious violence continue in Jos and Kaduna. Indeed, Christians were simply killed for the flimsiest of reasons. A carton of Prophet Muhammed in Denmark led to the killings of hundreds of mainly Igbo Christians in Northern Nigeria, especially Kano.

In 2011, when Buhari lost the presidential election to Goodluck Jonathan, dozens of Christians were killed in Yobe, Bauchi and elsewhere. And since Buhari, who had vowed to propagate Sharia and promote Islam came to power; the killing of Christians has widely escalated.

Apart from the mass murders carried out by herdsmen, Christians are largely targeted in various parts of the Muslim North. In 2016, a 74- year-old Igbo woman, Madam Bridget Agbahime was mobbed at Kofar Wambai market in Kano because he had asked a young man who had formed the habit of using her shop to do abolition to shift a little bit. She was accused of blasphemy and murdered. His killers were set free by the court.

At the peak of tension towards the end of 2016, a certain Mr. Orji Onyenweaku was said to have led a delegation of leaders of Igbo community in Kano to protest to one of local Muslim leaders against the unfair targeting of the community. They were said to have been subsequently attacked, some were killed and their houses burnt. Mr. Orji Onyenweaku it was learnt, managed to escape death by the whiskers and fatwa placed on his head. Till today, his whereabout remains unknown.

Similar fate befell Mrs. Eunice Olawale, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God who was murdered by suspected Islamists in Kubwa, Abuja for preaching the gospel. Her killers were never apprehended. Similar stories abound. Things get even scarier by the day. Last week, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) championed by General Danjuma and Solomon Asemota (SAN), warned that the present generation of Christians in Nigeria may cease to exist in 25 years from now.

According to them, the present generation of Christians faces the risk of being the last set of Christians in Nigeria.

They noted specifically that President Buhari “is openly pursuing an anti-Christian agenda that has resulted in countless murders of Christians all over the nation and destruction of vulnerable Christian communities.” Their view is shared by many Christians in Nigeria who have become endangered people in their own country because of their faith.

Publisher: Chinwe Korie


Vestibulum bibendum felis sit amet dolor auctor molestie. In dignissim eget nibh id dapibus. Fusce et suscipit orci. Aliquam sit amet urna lorem. Duis eu imperdiet nunc, non imperdiet libero.

Post A Comment: