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Nigeria: Christian lawyer in hiding after receiving death threats for defending victims of Fulani attacks

Nigeria: Christian lawyer in hiding after receiving death threats for defending victims of Fulani attacks

Christians faithfuls hold signs as they march on the streets of Abuja during a prayer and penance for peace and security in Nigeria in Abuja on March 1, 2020. The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria gathered faithfuls as well as other Christians and other people to pray for security and to denounce the barbaric killings of Christians by the Boko Haram insurgents and the incessant cases of kidnapping for ransom in Nigeria. | AFP via Getty Images/KOLA SULAIMON

A Nigerian Christian lawyer and leader of the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria is now in hiding after receiving death threats for speaking publicly about the unrelenting attacks on Christians. 

Dalyop Solomon has spoken out against the murder of Christians by the terrorist group Boko Haram and radical Fulani herdsmen. He visited villages where men and women were murdered, speaking with witnesses to document what happened.

Islamist militias in Nigeria murdered an estimated 1,202 Christians between January and June of this year. These murders are genocide, according to Jubilee Campaign USA, which submitted its data and research from Nigeria to the International Criminal Court last year.

Those who are attempting to hunt down and kill Solomon are being helped by people outside of Nigeria, an anonymous source claimed in an interview with Nigeria’s Opera News.

"Inside sources revealed on Monday that his photograph has been taken to Saudi Arabia, and his phone contact is being trailed from Abuja (Nigeria's capital) just to have him shot dead or captured alive. His present residence has been traced by some hired agents," the anonymous source said. 

Solomon has spoken out to defend persecuted Nigerian Christians for over a decade. He also tracks and reports attacks against Christians in Central Nigeria and has prosecuted attackers who've killed Christians and destroyed their villages.

After Fulani militants annexed a village where he lived and renamed its school after a Fulani leader, Solomon successfully petitioned the government to return the school to its original name. Although the government didn’t allow Solomon and other displaced residents to return to their homes, keeping the original name was their way of denying legitimacy to the Fulani landgrab.

As ECCVN’s leader, Solomon works to bring justice to Christians displaced by Nigerian Islamist extremist attacks. ECCVN also provides relief for attack survivors.

"His failure to back out from criminalizing Fulani in every [one] of his reports after [a] series of warnings has earned him serious trouble," said a source close to the lawyer, according to Opera News.

Solomon’s investigations of attacks on Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region have enabled him to provide detailed information to The Christian Post.

“So many communities here have been affected and the reason is because of their Christian faith. [Nigeria’s] Middle Belt has been left to its fate. Few Christian organizations have been reaching out to these victims. So that’s why we keep appealing to brethren, Christians across the globe, to come to our aid,” said Solomon in a previous interview with CP.

Now that Solomon is in hiding, he's no longer able to communicate with the media because of the risk that his phone calls might be traced.

If Nigeria’s government receives details of the threats against him, it might further endanger his life, the source told Opera News when asked whether Government Securities had been notified. The government has long kept Solomon on its watchlist because of his defense of Christians.

Islamic extremists and the Nigerian government have threatened Solomon before, and he's escaped previous assassination attempts. The Nigerian Army also warned him to stop reporting on the murders of Christians. 

Christians worldwide can help Solomon and other Nigerians by sharing reports about the persecution Nigerians face and asking their governments to pressure Nigeria to take action against religious attacks, Solomon previously told CP.

The United States provided $355 million to Nigeria in aid in 2019. Americans can contact USAID here to urge leaders to speak to Nigeria about Solomon’s situation.

“If the Nigerian government faces mounting pressure that there should be religious freedom, it would be a respite to our religious freedom,” he said.

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