The Ongoing Campaign of Terror against Christianity in Nigeria

Boko Haram remains arguably the biggest problem confronting Nigeria today, with consequences going beyond security into the political and socio-economic aspects of governance. This Islamist group from northeastern Nigeria has killed at least 3,500 people since 2009 when it first launched its Islamic insurgency to wrest power from the Nigerian government and create an Islamic state under the supreme law of sharia. The group’s active gnawing at the religious, ethnic, and regional fault-lines of Nigeria not only threatens the country’s peace and unity, but holds serious transnational implications.

There is an ongoing campaign of terror in Nigeria. Since July 2009, Boko Haram, an extremist Islamist group from the northeastern part of Nigeria, began a violent campaign that has resulted in the deaths of over 3,500 people, with the death toll rising on an almost daily basis. The group has carried out frequent attacks and bombings, in some cases using suicide bombers. Target locations have included police stations, military facilities, churches, schools, beer halls, newspaper offices, and the United Nations building in Abuja. In addition, the group has assassinated Christian clerics and destroyed at least 20 churches in the last 2 years.

Background: Militant Religiosity in Northern Nigeria
Boko Haram’s increasingly sophisticated and coordinated attacks have targeted Nigeria’s ethno-religious fault lines and security agents in an attempt to wrest power from the Nigerian government and create an Islamic state governed by strict sharia.

Northern Nigeria, a region with a predominantly Muslim population, has a well-documented history of militant religiosity dating back to the highly successful holy war (jihad) fought by Sheik Uthman dan Fodio in the early 19th century, Usman dan Fodio launched a jihad against what he saw as the hopelessly corrupt and apostate Hausa ruling elite of the time and established the sharia-governed Sokoto Caliphate – one of the largest and most powerful empires in sub-Saharan Africa – across much of northern Nigeria, although it is important to note that much of the area now known as the middle belt or North Central State resisted the jihadists. What began as a search for religious purification soon became a search for a political kingdom, with the outcome being that ‘Islam has remained the focal veneer for the legitimacy of the northern ruling class’, and consequently, ‘its politicians have always prided themselves as soldiers for the defense of the faith’.

Bogged by the ease with which the terrorist group, Boko Haram is prosecuting its conquest of the North East Region of the nation, Christians in the area have expressed disgust at the purported cease fire agreement signed by the Federal Government and the insurgents.
Expressing the concerns of the Christians in the North East yesterday in a telephone interview, Adamawa State chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Bishop Mike Moses appealed to the Federal Government to make haste to save Christians in the state before things get out of hand.

The CAN chairman told our reporter that the insurgents in their latest campaign to overrun the area, yesterday morning killed a pastor, an Assistant General Overseer of Triumph of Faith Church in Mubi, Rev. Isaac Innua, who was attempting to evacuate his family to safety. Also kidnap some pastors including a woman of God Prophetess Deborah Nnamdi Victor. Who was later rescue by the local vigilante securities in Mubi.
Bishop Moses narrated how the insurgents entered Mubi, the economic hub of Adamawa State which is close to the Cameroun border, sacking the Police stations, setting all prisoners free and chasing the military who were on patrol of the town.

Confirming earlier reports that the insurgents were seen advancing towards Mararranban and Vintim, the home town of the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, the bishop appealed to the Government to deploy troops in defence of innocent Christian civilians in that axis because if these people get hold of Yola, it will not be long before they advance to Abuja.

According to him, the Boko Haram insurgents were chanting war songs threatening to move to other major towns even as they have blocked all access roads to Mubi, stressing that the state capital, Yola had been filled to capacity by displaced persons from the theatre of battle.

“The suffering is too much. Men, children and women, some of them with babies strapped on their backs, are trekking long distances through the bush to get to Yola where there is relative peace at the moment,” he said in resignation, saying that the only weapon available to the Christian folk, at the moment is prayer because pastors and their families are not safe again.


Prophetess Deborah Nnamdi Victor

He therefore, while calling on the Federal Government to come to their aid, urged Christendom as a whole join them in prayer to avert the surging inferno, stating “if these people are allowed to “overrun yola, then it is only a matter of time before they enter Abuja and all arrangements for a general election next year will be a waste effort.”
Bishop Moses further warned that the nation security forces must brace up to their challenges, stressing that the purported ceasefire agreement has actually enboldened and created a window for the insurgents to invade other territories and established emirates even in Christian domains.
Speaking in the same vein, the General Secretary of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake expressed disgust at the developments in Adamawa State especially because the Defence chief is from that area.

“Some people are still talking about a ceasefire agreement. Who is talking about ceasefire agreement when people are being slaughtered in their hundreds and being chased out of their homes.
It appears the security forces have just turned their attention the other way while the insurgents are having a field day,” he stated.

We are told that certain military officers are sabotaging government efforts at arresting terrorism in the country.
To me, if there is any person to be court marshaled is the saboteurs in the army rather than the innocent men who had left their families without any means of livelihood,” the CAN scribe lamented.
Another Christian leader in Jimeta, also in Adamawa State expressed disappoint-ment with the way these insurgents are outwitting a formidable army of the biggest economy in the African continent, adding that reports indicate that the Defence chief had deployed almost a battalion to defend his house in Vintim.
The female pastor, prophetess Deborah nnamdi victor also stated that the whole episo-de is targeted towards the Christians in the North, pointing out that the leaders in the North are doing everything to islamise


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