NIGERIA: Over 52,000 People Massacred in the Last 14 Years for Being Christians, Intersociety Reports


By Paschal Norbert

ONITSHA, APRIL 14, 2023 (CISA) – At least 52,250 Christians and 34,000 moderate Muslims or 85,250 Faith believers have been killed in Nigeria since July 2009.

According to a special investigative report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), about 1,041 people have also been slain or disappeared in the hands of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and other Jihadists in coordinated attacks across the country in the first 100 days of 2023.

“Nigeria is most likely to have recorded ‘direct deaths’ of over 85,250 defenseless Nigerian citizens in the hands of Islamic Jihadists and their ‘esprit de jihad’ in the country’s security forces since 2009. As of July 2021, according to our special report of 4th August 2021, no fewer than 43,000 Christians were hacked to death involving: BH, ISWAP and Ansaru 18,500 Christian deaths, Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen 18,500-19,000 Christian deaths and others 6000 Christian deaths. The number of moderate Muslims killed for nonviolently professing Islam in Nigeria as of July 2021 was estimated at 29,000,” the report released on April 10 stated.

Intersociety says they have been closely monitoring patterns and trends of anti-Christian persecution since 2010 and the killing of minority Muslims and moderate others by non-state actors, armed Islamists and Muslim-dominated Nigerian security forces from 2015 to 2023.

“The patterns and trends of the state actors, religious butcheries under our close watch include the introduction of state radical Islamism policy by the outgoing Government of Nigeria in 2016, introduction of Nigerian security forces dimension to anti-Christian butcheries across the country such as pro-Islamic internal security operations in Eastern Nigeria since 2016 involving ethnic and religious profiling associated with atrocious military operations in the East and the military protected invasion of Eastern Christian forests, bushes and farmlands by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen since 2016,” they say.

In their findings, Intersociety states that 18,000 Churches and 2200 Christian schools have also been attacked in the fourteen years since 2009. It posits that the number of targeted attacks on Christian institutions is disproportionate compared to the number of Mosques and Islamic learning centres attacked by the Jihadists.

“As of 2021, the number of churches attacked and destroyed or burned down rose to over 300 and from July 2009 to July 2021, about 17,500 churches and 2000 Christian schools were brutally affected,” the findings reveal.

As a result of the attacks, close to 14 million Christians have been displaced and over 800 Christian communities forced out of their ancestral homes while being forcefully converted to Islam.

“There are presently over two million IDPs in Benue State alone and close to two million others are in the States of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Taraba; with the remainder scattered in Niger, Kebbi, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Nassarawa, Kogi, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Abia and so on. Thousands have also become ‘urban refugees’ in foreign lands,” states Intersociety.

“Over 150 communities have been affected in Southern Kaduna alone and in Benue, Plateau and Taraba States, Christian homes, churches and settlements have been destroyed and replaced with Mosques and Muslim settlements. Christian communities of Borno, Taraba, Niger, Adamawa, Plateau, Southern Kaduna and Benue States are the worst hit,” highlights the civil society group.

In the report, Intersociety has accused the outgoing government of President Buhari of protecting the Jihadists Fulani Herdsmen and failing immeasurably to defend Christians against the indiscriminate attacks even as the country witnesses a rise in radical Islamism, which has claimed over 30,250 lives under Buhari.

“The State Government other than occasionally crying out has failed woefully to put proactive measures in place to checkmate and tame such attacks; to the extent that the Jihadists now invade any Christian Community of their target at will and slaughter its natives and take over their lands and properties at will,” it says.

According to the civil society group, Nigerian Christian leaders are also to blame. They say, the religious leaders have abandoned their spiritual calling as defenders and protectors of faith and members, and are deeply engrossed in the pursuit of material wealth.

“They also pay more attention to building ‘palatial paradises on earth’ and little attention to protecting their churches and members of their laity; thereby exposing them to grave vulnerabilities to attacks by radical Islamists clandestinely funded by Muslim hardliners and hypocritical public office holders who pretend to be ‘Christians’,” argues Intersociety.

Founded in 2008, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) is a non-governmental and non-profit organization. It campaigns for the promotion and advancement of civil liberties and rule of law including civil and criminal justice reforms; democracy and good governance built on public governance accountability; and public safety and security including accountability for regime and policing atrocities.