AFRICA/NIGERIA - "More than 1.3 million Christians forced to flee from northern Nigeria", says a Bishop

Monday, 30 May 2016

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - In northern Nigeria, between 2006 and 2014 an estimated 11,500 Christians were killed, over 1.3 million Christians displaced and 13,000 churches destroyed or abandoned. This assertion was made by His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Bagobiri, Bishop of Kafanchan, in his presentation entitled "The Impact of Persistent Violence on the Church in Northern Nigeria", made at an International Conference held at the headquarters of the United Nations Organization (UNO), New York, United States of America (USA).
The most affected Christian communities are in northern Adamawa, Borno, Kano and Yobe states. Christians in these states have had to relocate mainly to the predominant Christian states in the Middle Belt areas: Plateau, Nassarawa, Benue, Taraba and Southern part of Kaduna state.
But in recent months, these areas are affected by the violence of the Fulani herdsmen (see Fides 02/05/2016). "Christian communities in the predominant Christian states in the Middle Belt areas are the most affected by the Muslim Fulani herdsmen forceful invasions and attacks. This is a blatant foreign invasion of the ancestral lands of the Christian and minority communities", said Mgr. Bagobiri in his presentation sent to Fides. "In these middle belt states, the Fulani herdsmen have incessantly terrorized many communities, wiping out some from existence, and in places like Agatu in Benue State and Gwantu and Manchok in Kaduna State, these attacks assumed genocidal character, as between 150 – 300 vulnerable persons were killed overnight", he stressed.
Mgr. Bagobiri called on the international community to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to ensure freedom of worship for Christians and other minorities in northern Nigeria, and tackle the humanitarian emergency of displaced populations. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/05/2016)