IT is of grave danger to pretend not to see it, keep quiet over it or try to be nice about it and water it down. Many evidences point to it – Christians are hunted down in Northern Nigeria. The biggest symbols of this sad truth are the remaining over 100 Chibok schoolgirls, Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu and others in the den of the Boko Haram terrorists.
Killings and abductions are on the rise. On January 8, 2020, an armed gang dressed in military uniforms forced its way into the Catholic Good Shepherd Seminary located off Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria Express Way, home to some 268 seminarians, and abducted four first-year philosophy students: Pius Kanwai, 19; Peter Umenukor, 23; Stephen Amos, 23; and Michael Nnadi, 18.
One of the abducted students was later dumped along Kaduna-Abuja highway because the abductors felt he would not survive given the type of injuries they inflicted on him.
Then on January 9, 2020, Dachiya Dalep, a student of the University of Maiduguri, was abducted on his way to school from Jos. Twelve days later the gory video of his gruesome execution surfaced by Boko Haram. The father of the executed Dalep said the killing of his son cannot force his family to renounce Christianity.
Another gory incident was the beheading of the abducted Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi. The terrorists had demanded two million Euros ransom but were offered N50 million, which they rejected before beheading Rev. Andimi and sending the gory picture of his killing to the President of the EYN Church, Reverend Daniel Mbaya.
Just the Sunday before Rev. Andimi’s beheading, another clergyman, Rev. Denis Bagauri, was murdered by gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa. The list is growing.
In 2017, the United States House of Representatives had cited Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world. In December last year, the U.S. authorities reacted again by placing Nigeria on a Special Watch List for tolerating “severe violations of religious freedom”, saying sectarian violence increased in 2018.
Before that, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in January 2019, alleged that Boko Haram was being “empowered” by the Federal Government. And CAN, along with other Christian groups, has accused the Federal Government of not doing enough to stop these evil acts.
We call on the Federal Government to protect Nigerians irrespective of their faith. There is no way that Christianity or any other faith can be uprooted from Northern Nigeria. Those who have made it their agenda must be ruthlessly pursued and uprooted instead.
The world should help.
Unless this is done the entire West African sub-region could be consumed by unending and unwinnable sectarian conflicts.
Author: Emmanuel Okogba