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Governors, FG allowed Boko Haram terrorists, herdsmen to kill Christians in 2023 — Report



By Olugbenga Ige

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has claimed that hundreds of citizens were killed by religious extremists in Nigeria in 2023

The body, in a newly released 2024 annual report, said most incidents that led to the deaths were tolerated as a result of the negligence of the federal and state governments.

It stated that the Nigerian Government has found it difficult to verify the perpetrators of the violent attack and the motivation behind the carnage against the Christian faithful.

According to the report, the states with the highest levels of violence were Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Adamawa, and Benue.

The report also noted that a study by a Nigerian non-governmental organisation, Intersociety, indicated that violent insurgency groups and armed gangs, as well as Nigerian government forces, were responsible for 8,222 Christian killings in Nigeria in 2023.

It mentioned that in 2023, extremists in Benue state killed 414 people from largely Christian areas while wounding, raping, or kidnapping another 100, and that between May and June 2023, violent gangs killed 450 Christians in three northeastern states.

The report reads: “In 2023, religious freedom conditions in Nigeria remained extremely poor. Violence across Nigeria impacted freedom of religion or belief as the government failed to prevent attacks against faith-based organisations or worshipers, with some accusing it of fomenting such attacks.

“Nigerian government officials were often slow to react to information about possible attacks or to respond after attacks occurred. In some cases, those impacted by violence directly criticised a lack of government accountability and called for further steps to protect religious freedom.

“Both the police and army drew criticism for not stemming the activities of violent insurgent groups such as Boko Haram, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP), and Fulani gangs that often worked in collaboration with them.

“Those states where violence was most prevalent include Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Adamawa, and Benue. Additionally, multiple attacks during the year targeted religious leaders.

“For example, in January 2023, bandits killed Father Isaac Achi of the Minna Diocese, while others shot and injured assistant parish priest Father Collins Omeh at the Saints Peter and Paul Church in the Paikoro region. In May 2023, insurgents in Benue State killed pastor Dominic Dajo of St. Peter Catholic Church and his wife. In Nasarawa State, Fulani herders killed pastor Daniel Danbeki of the Evangelical Church Winning All, along with his wife and 41 others.

“In Yobe State, Boko Haram insurgents killed at least 37 people in February 2023 and killed another 40 people in October.

“In May, the Nigerian army rescued two women Boko Haram had kidnapped in 2014 from a Chibok secondary school. In November, Boko Haram killed 15 farmers in the Muslim-majority Borno State and at least 10 Christians in Taraba State.

“In 2023, the government detained individuals accused of blasphemy and often failed to hold accountable perpetrators of violence related to blasphemy allegations.

“The Nigerian penal code includes a penalty of up to two years’ imprisonment for acts ‘persons consider as a public insult on their religion, with the intention that they should consider the act such an insult.’

“Twelve states in northern Nigeria have implemented Shari’a legal frameworks since 1999. In May, a Sokoto State magistrate released two suspects arrested for the May 2022 mob murder of Christian Deborah Samuel for alleged blasphemy, eliminating any accountability for her death.

“In June, a mob in Sokoto State stoned to death Usman Buda after he made a remark misunderstood as a slur against the Prophet Muhammad.

“At least five prisoners remain in state custody on blasphemy charges, including humanist Mubarak Bala and Sufi Muslim Yahaya Sharif–Aminu. At a November 27 hearing in a Bauchi State high court, a judge rejected Christian Rhoda Jatau’s appeal that the court dismiss the blasphemy charges against her; however, on December 10, a Bauchi court judge released her on bail.”


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Posted by on May 3 2024. Filed under General Politics, Headlines, Latest Politics, National Politics, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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