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The killing of Christians in Nigeria: Who will help us?

Oscar Amaechina
Courtesy of Oscar Amaechina

Christianity is under siege in Nigeria.  So many Christian Nigerians have been kidnapped and some of them will never return home alive. The unfortunate aspect of what is happening is that the government has decided to do nothing about it. The security situation in Nigeria has degenerated to the extent that countries that are at war are far better than our country.  Every morning we wake up with news of kidnapping and killing. Who will come to our rescue?

Nigeria was designated a “Country of Particular Concern” in December 2020 by the U.S. Secretary of State for having “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom…”.  The 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom by the U.S State Department reported about Nigeria:

General insecurity throughout the country’s regions increased during the year: a terrorist insurgency in the North East; brazen kidnapping and armed robbery rings in the North West and southern regions; militant groups and criminal gangs in the South South region; and conflict between farmers and herders over access to land in the North Central region.

The report also recognizes that religion appears to play a role in some conflicts:

Some domestic and international Christian groups stated that Muslim Fulani herdsman were targeting Christian farmers because of their religion. Local Muslim and herder organizations said unaffiliated Fulani were the targets of Christian revenge killings. Local and international NGOs and religious organizations criticized what they said was the government’s inability or unwillingness to prevent or mitigate violence between Christian and Muslim communities. Christian organizations reported several cases during the year of Muslim men kidnapping young Christian girls and forcing them into marriage and conversion to Islam.

In response to the U.S. State Department’s designation of Nigeria as a CPC, the Nigerian government denied it and asserted there is no religious violation in the country.  According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria, "Religious liberty in Nigeria has never been in question, therefore any claim contrary to that is completely false and untrue".  It is obvious that Nigerian government officials are pretending that they do not know about the attacks on Christians in Nigeria.

The government in their reports have attributed the killings to farmer-herder conflicts, bandit activities and communal crises.  A close look at what is happening in Nigeria shows that there is Jihad going on in Nigeria and Christian government officials are complicit to this war against Christianity.  Otherwise how do we explain the fact that Christian government officials are always at the forefront of defending the attackers on Christians in the nation.

If it is farmer-herder crises, what of the attacks on worshipers during church service? When has the church become a farmland? On April 25, worshipers in Haske Baptist Church, Kaduna state, were attacked and a medical doctor was killed and others kidnapped. Is this a farmer-herder crises or a communal clash?

Even as Christians are being murdered on a daily basis, churches in Nigeria that are not affected move about their activities unperturbed, with no empathy for those who have fallen victim. People still go to church for miracles, signs, wonders and prosperity, and pastors still climb pulpits to talk about how to live comfortably and make money.

The Church is supposed to be the strongest tool to fight against violation of religious freedom and religious persecution, but unfortunately the Nigerian Church is asleep.  Who shall pray to God to wake us up from this slumber and revive the Nigerian Church?  We have so many megachurches and "powerful men of God" in our country but it seems like there is no balm in Gilead and no prophet in Israel.

Is it that the hand of God is too short to deliver us? I presume that it is our iniquity that has separated us from the protection of God. Our negligence and disobedience to the mandate of the Great Commission is to a large extent responsible for our problems. If we had already taken the Gospel to those who are killing us now, the current situation would be very different.

The spirit of "let us build and make names for ourselves" as instituted by Nimrod in Genesis chapter 11 has bedeviled the Nigerian denominations, and empire-building has taken over the mandate of the Great Commission that is the purpose of the Church. We are now competing among ourselves in which church can build the tallest tower that will touch heaven even when we are not sure that we will be alive to worship in such cathedrals.

When God wants to heal a land, He doesn't require the cooperation of the government but the Church: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). The Nigerian Church is capable of bringing the needed changes in Nigeria if we are willing and obedient. The spirit of Nimrod must be prayed out of the Nigerian church if we must come out from this mess and enter into the realm of restoration.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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