|Persecution Type:||Islamic Oppression|
|Persecution Level:||Very High|
|Main Religion:||Christianity, Islam|
|Government:||Federal Presidential Republic|
|Leader:||President Maj. Gen. (ret.) Muhammadu Buhari|
Nigeria’s score for violence has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by Hausa-Fulani Islamic militant herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and scores of villages and churches were burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens with individuals from Muslim backgrounds facing Chrisitan persecution from their own families.
Most Christians in the southern part of the country live in an environment in which their religious freedom is respected. However, Christians in the north and in the Middle Belt suffer from violence perpetrated by militant Islamic groups. Such violence often results in the loss of life and physical injury, as well as loss of property. As a result of the violence, Christians are also dispossessed of their land and means of livelihood. Christians in northern Nigeria, especially in the Sharia states, face discrimination and exclusion as second-class citizens. Christians with a Muslim background also face rejection from their own families and pressure to give up Christianity.
Corruption has weakened the state, making it ill-equipped to protect Christians from the violence perpetrated by groups like Boko Haram. Sometimes, churches are used as vehicles for money-laundering. Churches that are perceived to be associated with such criminal activity (i.e. receiving donations from criminal benefactors) often end up being targets of crime-related violence.
On February 17, 2014 Boko Haram militants attacked a Christian farming village in Borno State. The attack, in which 106 people were killed, specifically targeted male residents of the Christian community.
On April 24, 2018, militant Fulani herdsmen attacked a Catholic church in Benue State during a morning service, killing two priests and 17 parishioners. After the “shooting rampage,” the attackers reportedly “descended on the community and razed over 60 houses, farmland, food barns, after carting away what the people had in their barns.”
On June 23, 2018, 120 Christians were killed by Fulani militants in Plateau State, as they returned from attending a funeral.
All of the Nigerian children in these images have been persecuted by extremists—mostly Boko Haram. Read More