Nigeria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian, according to a report on Christian persecution by International Christian Concern (ICC).
In ICC’s 2023 “Persecutors of the World” report, Nigeria is billed as the world’s top oppressor because of its “endemic” anti-Christian violence.
Radical Muslim terror groups such as Boko Haram and Fulani militants have waged a “20-year genocide against Christians in Nigeria,” the report declared, and as a result “Christian men, women, and children are brutally kidnapped, tortured, and killed every week in Nigeria.”
In just 128 days of 2022, spanning from March 4 to July 6, a total of 55 separate attacks resulted in the deaths of 549 Christians, ICC reported.
The adoption of Sharia criminal law in 12 northern states has exacerbated the ongoing persecution of Christians in the region, the text stated, and meanwhile the Nigerian government and much of the international community “continue to deny religious motivation behind ongoing violence, despite the clear targeting of Christians and churches.”
“Once again, Nigeria’s Christian community is suffering at the hands of radical Fulani militants,” ICC president Jeff King noted. “And once again, rather than intervening, the Nigerian government continues to turn a blind eye to the violence, aiding and abetting the ongoing genocide.”
“No longer can this trend of violence be dismissed as a complicated, regional conflict over land rights,” King added. “The government’s inaction on the matter is inexcusable and the violence will only worsen unless the international community steps in.”
The principal driver of Christian persecution in Nigeria is radical Islam and, according to ICC, the three main perpetrators of persecution are Boko Haram, Fulani militants, and Islamic conservative communities.
While Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly Christians, Fulani militants operating in Nigeria’s Middle Belt “have killed more Christians in the past several years than Boko Haram and have displaced millions of Christian farmers.”
To add insult to injury, in 2021 the U.S. State Department removed Nigeria from its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) despite unabated violence and atrocities against Christians.
“This lack of designation essentially indicates to Nigeria that the U.S. approves of all its actions,” the ICC noted. “Whether the U.S. acknowledges the plight of Nigerian Christians or not, the fact remains the same: Nigeria has become a burial ground for believers of the Christian faith.”
In a statement released in November 2021, the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said it was “appalled” at the decision of the Biden administration to remove Nigeria from the list of CPCs.
USCIRF said it was “unexplainable that the U.S. Department of State did not redesignate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) and treated it as a country with no severe religious freedom violations.”
“While the State Department took steps forward on some designations, USCIRF is especially displeased with the removal of Nigeria from its CPC designation, where it was rightfully placed last year,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza at the time.