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2,200 Nigerian Christians hacked to death in 2020; 34,400 since 2009: Intersociety report

2,200 Nigerian Christians hacked to death in 2020; 34,400 since 2009: Intersociety report

Christian mourners at the burial site of the Rev. Alubara Audu who was killed by jihadist herdsmen at Buda, Kajuru in Kaduna state, Nigeria, in September 2020. | Emeka Umeagbalasi

When radical Islamists murder Christians in Nigeria, the government lists their deaths as having other causes, according to new report released by Nigeria’sInternational Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law.

The newly-released report indicates that deaths which the Nigerian government describes as random banditry or inter-tribal violence, actually result from radical Islamists attacking Christians, said Intersociety leader and founder Emeka Umeagbalasi.

Since 2009, 34,400 Christians have been murdered by radical Islamists, with 2,200 slain in the last year, the report says. Radical Muslims have also killed an estimated 20,000 moderate Muslims.

" ... the most dangerous dimension to radical Islamism in Nigeria is its secret rise and spread and clandestine control of state power through Fulani Jihadism. In other words, the Nigerian Government’s major local and foreign policy direction, in clandestine practice, is ‘Fulani Jihadism’ — a policy pursued with utter alacrity and through different colors and disguises including pro-jihadist or radical Islamic policies and conducts. To cover up these, the present Nigerian government has also created an international machinery of falsehood and propaganda with well-funded or oiled international lobbying campaigns targeted at misinforming and misleading key and strategic international legislative, diplomatic and democratic institutions or bodies especially the EU, U.S., U.K. and Australia and their Parliaments; the Commonwealth and the U.N. and other internationally respected state and non-state actors," the report states, in part. 

“What the government here is doing is mapping out strategies. [It’s] a kind of script that’s given to media, local media and what have you,” Umeagbalasi said.

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According to Umeagbalasi, Nigeria’s government tells media that Fulani tribe herdsmen travel south fleeing desertification and kill during conflicts with local farmers. The truth is that Fulani tribesmen travel south because they are radical Islamists looking for Christians to kill. They don’t attack Muslim villages, and traditional cattle-grazing methods don’t support enough cows to justify fatal conflicts with farmers.

The Nigerian government hides these attacks because it supports radical Islamists, Umeagbalasi asserted. President Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim. He is also a member of the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, which supports radical Islamic tribesmen, he added.

“Buhari sets aside the Constitution. He makes appointments without recourse to the Constitution,” Umeagbalasi continued. “In the Constitution, it is forbidden for the government to have a state religion. The Constitution made it clear that the composition of the armed forces of Nigeria should reflect regional or religious balancing, but the president is not listening to that.”

Instead, Buhari stacks the government with Muslims in positions of high authority, the Intersociety report said. Since Buhari's 2015 election, Muslims have occupied 32 of the most important 39 positions in politics, security, lawmaking and the judiciary, even though Nigeria has even numbers of Muslims and Christians.

In June, five of Nigeria’s major Islamic groups made an alliance with each other to rise up against Christians. The killings of Christians in Nigeria aren’t random acts of violence, but a calculated attempt to conquer Nigeria for Islam, Umeagbalasi claims.  

“The country is being taken over by the caliphate,” he said. “When they are done in the north, they will now come to the south.”

In response to the rise in attacks, Nigeria’s government has done little or nothing, the report says. They consistently under-report casualties of Christians. Sometimes, the government buries murdered Christians using Muslim funeral rites in an attempt to convince the world that Christians aren’t under attack.

“The Government of Nigeria clandestinely will direct the Army Commander or Commissioner of Police in charge of the incident area to organize a press conference denying the killing or linking it falsely to another cause such as ‘attack by bandits’ or ‘rival communal violence’ or ‘killing associated with kingship/chieftaincy/intra communal violence’ or ‘reprisal violence’ or ‘cult-related killing,’ or ‘killing arising from armed robbery and kidnapping,’ or ‘road accidents,’” the report reads. 

Rather than sending the military or police to defeat heavily armed terrorists, the Nigerian government orders its forces to stand down and retreat if fired on, said Umeagbalasi. In some cases, the Nigerian Army allegedly participate in the killing of Christians.

Some Christians in the Army told him that commanders who tell their soldiers to fight terrorists get transferred to assignments where they can’t make the country safer.

“The leaders of Christian victim communities in Southern Kaduna told Umeagbalasi and Intersociety that their vigilantes mobilized to join soldiers in trailing the Fulani Jihadists after they have attacked Christians in their areas and escaped, had come back telling them that those soldiers told them not to shoot the Fulani Jihadists when sighted and under attack because there is existing instruction or order from above not to shoot or arrest them (Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen) and that any senior army or military officer that flouts or goes against the order or security code stands the risk of being set up and premature retirement or being transferred to heavily insurgency affected areas,” the report noted. 

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