Thousands of Christians gathered for a prayer rally in Nigeria in protest of the nonstop terror attacks by Fulani militants. Leaders of different church denominations led the “Solemn Assembly” in the Rwang Pam Township Stadium in the northern city of Jos on June 1, 2022, reports International Christian Concern.
God is angry when other people try to displace them from their ancestral lands. —Rev. Dr. Stephen Panya, president of Evangelical Church Winning All
Rev. Dr. Stephen Panya, president of Evangelical Church Winning All, emphasized the importance of Christianity in central Nigeria. “God is angry when other people try to displace them from their ancestral lands,” he said.
The day was filled with prayer sessions for peace and security, evangelism, and prosperity of the country.
Nigeria is number 7 in Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, a record of countries where it’s dangerous to follow Jesus. For two decades, tens of thousands of Christians suffered because of their faith. They were abducted, removed from their homes or killed by the armed group. Last year saw an increased number of reports of lawlessness and violence.
In the latest attack against Christians, over 50 were killed during a Pentecost Sunday service at a Catholic church in Southwestern Nigeria. Armed men opened fire and detonated explosives at St. Francis Catholic Church on June 5, according to Associated Press.
Nigeria will be holding its general elections in 2023 and Christians are praying for a peaceful transition of power. President Muhammadu Buhari, a member of Fulani Muslims, has been blamed for being lenient to the ethnic group’s attacks against Christians.
David Curry, CEO of Open Doors, accused Buhari of initiating cursory attempts to address the surge in violence against Christians, reports Breitbart News Network.
“The president, Buhari, is part of this tribal group, the Fulani, which has these extremist views. In my view, it’s suspicious that he continues to overlook them as a terrorist group,” Curry said. “That he allows these kinds of attacks to go on within the region in which they are prevalent, so I think they certainly need new leadership and hopefully one that will understand and honor international law.”
Curry exposed the militants’ continuous kidnapping and raping of girls, murders, and public execution of Christians. He told the story of Deborah Yakubu, a Christian and second year student, who was lynched last month at a university. Yakubu passed an exam and posted her thanks to Jesus on a WhatsApp group. She received a lot of backlash and was accused of blasphemy. Because of her faith, a mob beat, stoned her to death and burned her body.
“It just kind of highlights yet again that this country of Nigeria is tolerating and allowing these extremists to attack Christian groups, villages, individuals, for nothing more than their Christian faith,” warned Curry.
The human rights expert denounced the Buhari government’s perfunctory solutions, saying they are just to show that it is complying with international law. The heightened persecution against Christians in Nigeria proves the ineffectiveness of Buhari’s attempts at ending the attacks.
“What Nigeria has done is that they have not protected civil sites – places like churches, villages where Christians are known to be in the majority population,” he explained. “They’ll sometimes send military folks out, they may not even give them bullets for their guns.”
Curry hopes the next presidential election in Nigeria will bring in new leaders who will protect the rights of citizens, especially those who are persecuted for their faith.