The ban is meant to prompt the Nigerian government to upgrade their information-sharing procedures, something it has so far been slow to do. It has also been slow to protect its own Christian citizens.
Violence Towards Christians
Recently, a Nigerian pastor was beheaded by Boko Haram. Read more here.
David Curry of Open Doors USA, says westerners tend to view this persecution in Nigeria episodically, mourning the most tragic events but not understanding the day-to-day persecution of Christians including violence and sexual harassment.
“These are personal things,” Curry says. “These are individuals who have been affected by this. The government, even under great pressure, has not been responsive.”
“So what we have to recognize is Boko Haram is working with impunity, the Nigerian government is not is not effectively combating them, protecting the civil targets . . . like churches, like Christian villages. And it’s meant a massive migration of Christians to the south. and elsewhere, you could have as many as a couple million Christians over the last decade who’ve been forced out of out of the northern part of that country.”
And the Nigerian government is certainly not doing enough to protect Christians. Curry says, “When they send military into these northern areas, often they’ll send them in with guns and give the appearance of protecting these Christian churches. But the terrorists know that the guns don’t have any bullets.”
Nigeria’s weak stance towards its own citizens is having catastrophic consequences. Curry says, “In sense I think it fits the definition of a genocide. You have a group of people who are saying they’re going to eliminate Christians in the North, they’re largely pushing them out and or killing them. So, it certainly fits that legal definition. It’s not called that yet, unfortunately. It rarely [is called] genocide until it’s too late.”
Open Doors has been reaching out to the Nigerian government, as well as different departments within the US. Their goal is to make sure the cry of the indigenous church in Nigeria is heard.
The priority is protecting Christians in their own homeland, and if need be getting them out to safety. He says Christians should pray the families suffering under these attacks would have relief and safety.
Pray also that the Gospel of Jesus Christ would change Nigeria, the government would protect its citizens, and Boko Haram would stop terrorizing the land.
The US has included Nigeria in a travel ban. (Photo courtesy of Adam Reeder via Flicker)