August 2019 Update: The situation in North and Central-belt Nigeria
In northern and central Nigeria, Fulani militants continue to engage in an aggressive land-grabbing policy. They seek to replace diversity and difference with a monochrome ideology (similar to Boko Haram’s) that is imposed with violence on those who refuse to comply. Thousands of Christians have been killed since the insurgency began.
Recent media reports: ongoing conflict
- According to Barrister Emmanuel Ogebe, speaking at an Africa United for Peace event last month: “More Christians were killed in northern Nigeria in 2012 than the rest of the world combined.”
- Fulani-farmer clashes peaked in May-June in Jalingo, Taraba State. 65 were killed, 9,000 displaced, and 15 churches, two primary schools and a health centre destroyed during attacks on 18 predominantly Christian villages. Retaliatory assaults by Kona farmers on members of the Fulani ethnic group led to the torching of two mosques. 23 Fulani were also killed. (ACNUK, 19 July 2019)
- On 27 July in Borno State, Boko Haram killed over 60 people at a funeral possession. (Premium Times, 4 August 2019)
- The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, claims that “the country has never been this bad”. (Nigerian Tribune, 3 August 2019)
- An estimated 282 people were killed and 97 kidnapped in July; 353 were killed and 60 kidnapped in June (Premium Times, 5 August 2019).There is no disaggregation of statistics, so we cannot say how many were Christians.
- Five pastors were reportedly abducted by Fulani on their way to attend an annual church conference in Ogun State. Police say they have rescued one of the five pastors, promising to rescue the others soon. (BBC Pidgin, 2 August 2019; Daily Post, 3 August 2019)
Nigerian state forces accused of stoking crisis
According to Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja: “Biased and prejudiced official security reports heighten tension when they blame the victims instead of the aggressors because of the Nigerian ‘factor’ of tribal or religious affiliation. This sadly keeps the fire of the crisis raging. Generally, it is when the militant herdsmen vanish after their deadly attacks that the poor villagers try to react to protect or defend themselves.” (ACNUK, 19 July 2019)