…as between 1,650 and 1,700 Christians were hacked to death by Muslim jihadists in nine months of 2020
Onitsha (Sundiata Post) – International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) has debunked false narratives by the Government of Nigeria which has been going about misleading and misinforming the country’s international partners that killings in Nigeria are beyond religious (anti-Christian) boundaries and that they have proportionality of victims and perpetrators, or 50-50 Muslims and Christians respectively.
Intersociety alleged that prior to now, the Nigerian Government is saying (falsely) that there is no systematically organized violence targeted at Christians and their sacred places of worship and learning.
The group expressed regret that some int’l reports have also unfortunately and disappointingly toed a similar line by muddling up the killings or by falsely tagging same ‘farmers-herders’ clashes’; ignoring inherent disproportional use of force between the attackers and the attacked and the Nigerian security forces cover and protection being given to the perpetrators or attacking jihadists.
The group which exposed and listed the 12 types of violence ravaging Nigeria, opined that violence against Christians is taking the majority or numbering over six, adding that another form of violence, it labeled as “structural and cultural violence” against Christians by present Nigerian Government is in form of enactment of pro-Islamic laws and promotion of policies that are jihadist and antithetical to the country’s secularity status including gross lopsided composition of the country’s public security establishments and other key agencies by making them to be heavily Muslim controlled as well as condoning the atrocious acts of the Muslim Fulani jihadists against Christian populations and providing them with state cover and protection.
Intersociety while exposing these in a statement signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair, Amaka Damaris Onuoha, Esq., Chinwe Umeche, Esq., and Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., also declared that the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen holistically target and kill Christians and destroy their churches, schools and homes and take over their lands, but spare Muslims.
The statement reads in full:
Nigerian Violence: Putting The Record Straight: The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) has found that violence presently ravaging and wrecking Nigeria can be categorized into at least twelve types. Intersociety’s research investigation on this has become importantly necessary so as to open the eyes of all Nigerians and members of the int’l Community especially the western democracies and rights and research organizations and other respected int’l bodies like UN and its rights and humanitarian agencies, the EU and the Commonwealth on: who is killing who and why, how, when and where the killings in Nigeria or any part thereof.
This is to counter false narratives by the Government of Nigeria which has been going about misleading and misinforming the country’s int’l partners that killings in Nigeria are beyond religious (anti-Christian) boundaries and that they have proportionality of victims and perpetrators, or 50-50 Muslims and Christians respectively. In other words, the Nigerian Government is saying (falsely) that there is no systematically organized violence targeted at Christians and their sacred places of worship and learning.
Some int’l reports have also unfortunately and disappointingly toed a similar line by muddling up the killings or by falsely tagging same ‘farmers-herders’ clashes’; ignoring inherent disproportional use of force between the attackers and the attacked and the Nigerian security forces cover and protection being given to the perpetrators or attacking jihadists.
Unmasking Twelve Types Of Violence Ravaging Nigeria: Therefore, within the circle of violence currently ravaging Nigeria, it can be divided into twelve types, with violence against Christians taking the majority or numbering over six. The twelve types of violence presently ravaging Nigeria are: (1) violence targeted at defenseless Christians by Jihadist Muslim groups (i.e. Fulani, Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru jihadists, jihadist “Bandits” and Muslim controlled security forces), (2) violence targeted at defenseless Judeo-Christians (I.e. pro Biafra activists and neutral others) and minority Muslims (i.e. Shiites) by the country’s Muslim controlled security forces, (3) structural and cultural violence targeted at Christians by the heavily Muslim controlled Government of Nigeria, (4) violence targeted at indigenous Hausa Muslims (i.e. in Katsina, Northern Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara, etc) by State backed local and foreign Fulani Jihadist Muslim groups and (5) violence against residing and traveling Nigerians particularly Christians by ‘eco-jihadist’ Muslim groups or ‘jihadist bandits and their cells’.
Others are (6) violence against properties targeted at Christians’ lands, homes and sacred places of worship and learning by Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen and other Jihadists or Jihadist groups (i.e. burning down or destruction of over 17,000 churches and Christian schools mostly in the Middle Belt (North-central) and Northeast parts of Nigeria since July 2009; with Boko Haram and ISWAP accounting for over 14,000 and Jihadist Herdsmen and others accounting for the remaining 3,000, (7) violence against Christians by Government condoned mob Muslim groups or State/security forces backed mob actions against Christians especially in the North; and (8) security forces’ onslaughts (violence) against defenseless Nigerians or state actor killings outside the law including crimes against humanity and war crimes; part of which are unlawful, extrajudicial and summary killings or executions and disappearances
The rest are: (9) ‘street crimes’ or domestic criminal violence against general Nigerian citizens by various criminal groups including armed robbery, murder, abductions/kidnappings, arson, burglary, rape, domestic violence, cyber-crimes or violence, etc, (10) intra/inter communal violence within and between Nigerian rural communities, (11) reprisal violence (acutely pocketful and constantly repelled by Muslim controlled Nigerian security Forces) by Christian victims’ groups against their attackers; and (12) insurgency violence against the State of Nigeria including attacks on Government facilities and killing of service personnel by terror jihadist groups like Boko Haram, Ansaru, ISWAP, terror ‘Bandits’; with the exception of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, etc.
In the area of structural and cultural violence against Christians by present Nigerian Government, it involves enactment of pro-Islamic laws and promotion of policies that are jihadist and antithetical to the country’s secularity status including gross lopsided composition of the country’s public security establishments and other key agencies by making them to be heavily Muslim controlled as well as condoning the atrocious acts of the Muslim Fulani jihadists against Christian populations and providing them with state cover and protection.
For instance, out of 38 key federal political, legislative, judicial, justice, military, policing and paramilitary establishments and their heads in Nigeria recently identified by Intersociety, 31 are manned by Muslims while Christians were given only seven. Most of the serving Justices of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal as well as Judges of the Federal High Court appointed recently by the Government of Nigeria are heavily dominated by Muslims; likewise recent appointments made into the Federal Character Commission and the National Population Commission. In Kaduna State, all the 15 top political, legislative, judicial, justice, military and policing positions recently identified are held by Muslims; in a State with 60-40 Muslim-Christian population.
In the area of violence against Nigerians by ‘eco-cultural-jihadist’ Muslim groups, locally called “banditry”; it involves targeted abduction of residing or traveling citizens especially Christians and forcing them to pay monetary ransoms in captivity or get permanently disappeared or killed without traces. The jihadist content of the above involves targeted abduction of residing or traveling Christian citizens especially women and children. Such young Christian women are forcefully married off, converted to Islam and made sex slaves by their Islamic captors who also made them pregnant so as to bear future radical Muslim children. Christian men among them are forced to be converted to Islam or risked being killed or permanently disappeared in custody. Captured Christian children are radicalized with radical Islamic doctrines and forced into child soldiering including suicide bombing.
Who Kills Who In Nigerian Violence: All the perpetrators of insurgency violence or those behind most of the violent attacks ravaging the country are members of the Nigerian Muslim Faith. In other words, till date, no insurgency group wreaking havoc in present Nigeria belongs to Christians. This is with the exception of ‘street criminal activities’ like armed robbery, kidnapping, murder, cyber violence, etc where criminal citizens and entities of Christian and Muslim faiths and others are involved. The ‘jihado-insurgency’ killings in the country are carefully perpetrated and perfectly executed by their perpetrators. The original targets of the attacks by all Jihadist groups in Nigeria are Christians. They also have one central objective-to Islamize, exterminate and wipe out Christians and Christianity and have the same replaced with Islamic socio-legal system and Sultanate or Caliphate modeled Islamic Government and governance.
Therefore, Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen holistically target and kill Christians and destroy their churches, schools and homes and take over their lands, but spare Muslims. This is the case in old Middle Belt areas of Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa and Christian parts of Niger State as well as Christian areas of Taraba and Adamawa States. It was also our recent finding that the motives behind the killings in Birnin Gwari and other Muslim areas of Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto are not the same with killings in the named old Middle Belt and referenced Northeast States as such killings in the named Muslim areas are ‘eco-cultural-jihadist’ in nature. Which is why the victims, though Muslims, but are mostly, if not completely of indigenous Hausa Ethnic background-a sort of continuation of the 1800s Fulani Jihadism against pagan and moderate Muslim Hausa populations. Generally speaking, though the central target of Muslim insurgency killings and attacks in Nigeria are Christians and their properties and faith, but other jihadist groups such as Boko Haram, Ansaru and ISWAP also asymmetrically, disproportionally and collaterally target and kill moderate Muslims.
Islamic Conversion Using Inducements: Conversion of thousands of Christians to Islam using material inducements (in some cases charms are used on young Christian women and girls) have intensified across Nigeria. Such inducements include offers of monetary cash, bags of rice and salt, water boreholes, generator plants, motorcycles and tricycles, etc. Reports of same going on have been independently reported in Christian parts of Taraba, Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Oyo as well as in some Christian States of South-South and Southeast Nigeria.
Government Is Aiding Spread Of Jihad Across Nigeria: Violence against Christians and its accompanied jihad project has spread and is still spreading southward, no thanks to its overt and covert promotion, aiding and abetting by the country’s central Government. Estimated 400 Christians have been killed in the South since 2016, out of which Southeast or mainland Igbo Nation accounted for at least 200 including the Nimbo massacre of April 2016 where not less than 48 rural Igbo Christians were massacred by jihadist Fulani Herdsmen.
This year alone, not less than 35 Igbo Christians have been killed by same Government backed Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen including ten killed in Igbo part of Benue State, ten killed in Anambra and scores of others killed in other Igbo areas. In April 2018, six Igbo Christian farmers were hacked to death by the Jihadists in Anam Community in Anambra West Council Area of Anambra State. In our field survey conducted in May-July 2020, it was found that forests and bushes in not less than 400 Igbo Christian communities and villages have been forcefully occupied by the Jihadist Herdsmen through the aid of the Nigerian military. The number has risen to over 600 as at end of Sept 2020, with addition of Igbo parts of Benue and Kogi States.
33,000 Christian Lives Lost In Eleven Years (Since 2009): Since July 2009 when uprising majorly targeted at Christians by Boko Haram and Fulani jihadist groups took a center stage, over 33,000 Christians have been hacked to death and many of the over 24,000 disappeared persons since then are also Christians. While over 8,300 of the 33,000 Christian death tolls belonged to the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, a dominant church in the Boko Haram insurgency affected States of Taraba, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, the present Government of Nigeria and its security forces also accounted for over 1000 Judeo-Christian deaths.
The remaining 25,000 Christian deaths and multiple thousands of disappearances including thousands of Igbo Christians resident in the North are spread among members of other Christian denominations including Catholics, Anglicans, Pentecostals and members of ECWA and African Instituted Churches. That is to say that Boko Haram and others have killed over 16,800 (about 11,400 between July 2009 and Jan 2014 and 6,000 between Jan 2015 and Sept or end of 2020) defenseless or unprotected Christians in the past eleven years or since 2009 while Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for over 15,000 (6,000 between Jan 2009 and Dec 2014 and over 9,000 between Jan 2015 and Sept or end of 2020).
Nigerian Government Killed Over 1000 Christians In 5 Years: The Nigerian Government killing of over 1000 Judeo-Christian citizens since August 2015 had included August 2015-Sept2017/August 2020 massacre of over 510 defenseless in Christian held old Eastern Nigeria; air bombing of over 236 Christian IDPs in the Northeast State of Borno in Jan 2017, another air bombing of not less than 50 rural Christians in another Northeast State of Adamawa in Dec 2017, killing of 240 detainees in 2016 at Giwa Military Barracks in Northeast State of Borno, among them were not less than 100 Christians; killing in June 2020 of 30 Tiv Christians in Taraba, and other war crimes in the Northeast.
Between 1,650 & 1,700 Christians Killed In Nine Months: From our research checks, between 1,650 and 1,700 Christians were hacked to death by Muslim jihadists in Nigeria between 1st Jan 2020 and 30th Sept 2020. Further breakdown indicates that Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for as much as 1,200 Christian deaths from about 1,077 recorded in our last updates of 5th August 2020 while Boko Haram and other jihadist groups accounted for at least 450 Christian deaths. In our June 2020 updates regarding killing of Christians by Boko Haram and its allied jihadist groups, 394 Christian deaths were calculated and credited to the named jihadist groups; from over 600 defenseless Nigerians including moderate Muslims killed. Between July and 30th Sept 2020, not less than 100 civilians have been killed which included at least 50 defenseless Christians. Dozens who are mostly Christians have also been abducted and permanently disappeared or presumed killed in their captivity.
The breakdown of the 1,650-1,700 defenseless Christians hacked to death by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen since Jan 2020 indicates that Southern Kaduna topped the list with 430 Christian deaths, followed by Benue 170 with deaths, Plateau 163, Niger 65, Kogi 55, Nasarawa 42, Adamawa 40, Igbo areas including Delta and Benue Igbo 35, Taraba 32, Southwest 25-30, non-Igbo-Delta 20, Edo 10 and Bayelsa four. There are also at least 50 abducted and permanently disappeared Christians and a ‘dark figure’ of 50; bringing the total to as much as 1,200 Christian deaths recorded in the hands of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen between 1st Jan and 30th Sept 2020.
84 Mostly Christians Abducted By Fulani Jihadists In August & Sept: Southern Kaduna and mainly Christian parts of Niger State have lost 84 mostly Christian citizens to Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen abduction between August and Sept 2020. While 53 Christians were abducted in Southern Kaduna, 31 were abducted in mainly Christian parts of Niger State. The abductees who are yet to be seen, months after being abducted, are presumed or most likely to have been killed in captivity for being Christians.
Twenty Muslim Jihadist Groups Operating In Nigeria: The number of jihadist terror groups wrecking havoc in Nigeria has risen to at least 20, from three in 2015. By mid 2015, three jihadist groups were operating in Nigeria and they were Boko Haram, Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and Ansaru or Movement for Emancipation of Muslims in Black Africa. But today, their number has risen to not less than 20, involving: two sub terror groups within Boko Haram excluding Ansaru and ISWAP or Islamic State in West African Province. There are also Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, further divided into three sub terror groups of indigenized jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, foreign or imported jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and jihadist Shuwa Arabs. The Jihadist ‘bandits’ terror group, originally named “Zamfara Bandits” has today split into at least 13 sub jihadist terror groups operating and terrorizing residing and traveling Christians and indigenous Hausa Muslims in Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Niger States, etc.
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law-INTERSOCIETY
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair, Amaka Damaris Onuoha, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance, and Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law