Christians are being slaughtered mercilessly in Nigeria. And these atrocities carried out by Muslim Fulani herdsmen are occurring on an extremely regular basis!
Despite all this, the mainline press of the world is turning a blind eye to the spate of attacks or any reports about them. Of course, all the major networks carried reports of the mosque shooting in New Zealand on Friday, March 15. Somehow this piqued their interest more than scores of Nigerian Christians being murdered!
Thank God for the Christian news agencies such as The Christian Post (CP), Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and others who keep us updated on the dire situation which seems to be escalating by the month.
The Christian Post, reporting on the situation in Nigeria, stated: “On Monday, [March 11] 52 people were killed, dozens injured and around 143 homes were destroyed in attacks on the villages of Inkirimi, Dogonnoma and Ungwan Gora… [and] in the Ungwan Barde village… 17 people were killed and dozens of homes were burned,” (article by Samuel Smith in Christian Post March 15, 2019 www.christianpost.com). But that is hardly all. “In late February, there was another attack in Maro that resulted in the deaths of about 38 Christians and saw homes and a church burned.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (an agency that advocates for persecuted Christians and a United Nations recognized NGO) says that the attack was very well organized. Survivors informed that their attackers were divided into three groups. One group shot people; a second set fire to buildings; and the third pursued people as they fled. No one was to escape the wrath of the Fulani herdsmen! And these attacks are carried out on suspecting villages frequently.
No wonder Nigeria is listed 12th in the number of countries where the persecution of Christians is most severe. “In 2018 alone, thousands of Christians were killed by militant Fulani herdsmen, leaving some to say that genocide is occurring in the Middle Belt of Nigeria,” (Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List, www.opendoorsusa.org).
It certainly looks that way, doesn’t it? Life for the Christian in the North and in the Middle Belt of Nigeria is one that must be lived with great unswerving faith in the Lord Jesus. Believers there live in constant, severe hardship, and with the real possibility that they might have to give their lives for the Lord.
Their faith is met with sheer scorn and disrespect by their countrymen who are predominately Muslim, and they face rejection from their own families. They are also dispossessed of their land and means of livelihood; treated as second-class citizens and face discrimination and exclusion.
Our Nigerian brothers and sisters are actually 21st century heroes of faith. There are stories of those who were ordered to denounce Christianity and return to Islam, but they would not. They preferred to suffer and die for the Lord, rather than denounce Him!
In this they modelled the martyrs listed in Hebrews 11 who endured extremely brutal deaths for Christ’s sake. “Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated,” (vv 36,37 NLT).
So while the Nigerian government and army seem inept or unwilling to protect these citizens, and while the international press takes little notice of their plight, let us continue to keep them in our prayers.
We stand on God’s Word, and believe His promise that, “God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs,” (Matthew 5:10 NLT).