The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, yesterday urged caution as
The International Christian Concern, ICC, recently ranked Nigeria among the worst persecutors of Christians in its 2023 report.
The report paints an ugly picture of the dangers Christians face in the country. The report says that Nigeria might be the most perilous place for Christians worldwide.
The ICC report detailed 55 attacks in Nigeria, resulting in the death of 549 Christians during a four-month period from March to July.
It also highlighted the torching of a Catholic seminary and the killing of a seminarian in Kaduna State, as well as the massacre of over 20 people in a Plateau State village by radical militants in August.
A huge part of the persecution is attributed to terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, which has been responsible for more than 38,000 deaths over the past 12 years, and the enforcement of Sharia law in 12 northern states.
The report said the country has become a burial ground for Christians,.
In addition to Nigeria, the ICC’s report also named nine other countries as oppressive towards Christians.. These include North Korea, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, Eritrea, Algeria, Indonesia, and Azerbaijan.
The report identifies patterns of religious suppression, forced labour, violence, and harsh legal restrictions among these nations.
The ICC report also identified six groups, including the Allied Democratic Forces and Al-Shabab, as some of the worst oppressors of religious freedom and minorities.
Reacting to the report, Ibrahim Kufena, the Secretary of Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, in Kaduna State, said it was not enough for the ICC to make such a statement against Nigeria.
According to him, the Christian body should show instances and the locations where such alleged persecutions were made to enable them answer the ICC properly.
The Anglican Church expressed concerns regarding external attacks on the Church and emphasized that Christians must not despair. Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, urged church leaders to reconsider their indiscriminate visits to government officials.
They stressed that such visits could divert attention from more pressing issues affecting Christians, such as the ongoing persecutions in various religious communities.
However, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, harped on the importance of considering the broader context surrounding religious persecution in the country.