Nigeria (MNN) — The U.S. Department of State did not designate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) with regards to religious freedom in its 2021 report. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has expressed disappointment with this move, along with the omission of India, Syria, and Vietnam.
The State Department did, however, add Russia and Nigeria to the list. Other countries designated include Myanmar, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. CPC’s gain the designation by engaging in or tolerating, “systemic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
Armed groups responsible for much of the violence against Christians in Nigeria were named as “Entities of particular concern.” These include Boko Haram and ISIS.
Greg Kelley with World Mission says groups of Fulani bandit groups have attacked Christians as well. “They’re getting in on the act because they are also all motivated by Islamic fundamentalism and their common enemy or target is Christians.”
Kelley says just two weeks ago, a group of bandits attacked a church service and kidnapped everyone in the building. “It’s terrifying for Christians, people serving Jesus. They’re going into church services not knowing [if they could be attacked]. All these things are primarily happening in northern Nigeria, which is 90% Muslim. The southern part is majority Christian. In the northern part, Christians are being hunted down.”
Even though Nigeria’s government itself has not attacked Christians, they haven’t done enough to stop the violence. Ask God to protect Nigerian Christians.
You can also support World Mission’s work in Nigeria Kelley says, “We’re continuing to send in hundreds of solar-powered audio Bibles in the Fulani language, the Hausa language, and the Kanuri language. These are three of the largest unreached tribes in northern Nigeria.”
The header photo shows Fulani herdsmen. Several groups of Fulani bandits have attacked Christians in northern Nigeria. (Photo courtesy of KaTeznik, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons)