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Posts tagged ‘Middle Belt’

South West (Yoruba) cries marginalisation when the tide is about to turn completely in 4 days time.

Yoruba Gov

West GovernorAS the presidency is addressing claims of marginalisation in federal appointments by the South West, the zone may be facing a new form of discrimination, going by the proposed details in some ministries in 2014 budget.A breakdown of new projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, which was obtained by the Nigerian Tribune, showed the South West largely neglected in the allocation of the projects, compared with other five geopolitical zones.Analysis of capital projects of about N30 billion proposed by the ministry showed the three zones of the North taking the lion share of over 80 per cent, while with three southern zones competed with 20 per cent, of which South-West had less than two per cent.Of over 30 new irrigation projects proposed in the 2014 budget, only two were located in the South West.The two, lower and middle Ogun, however, had only design funding of less than N10 million, in contrast to similar new irrigation projects in Kaduna, Kano and Yobe, to which over N1.2 billion was allocated.Of the 41 new earth dam projects proposed by the ministry, South West had only one at Ile-Ife, Osun State, with about 75 per cent of the dams located in the North, while the old Eastern region had the rest.Further checks showed that while the Ile-Ife dam had only N100 million allocated to it, similar projects located in the Middle Belt and core North had between N250 million to over N500 million allocated to them in the next fiscal year.The South West was not only neglected in the areas of irrigation and new dams, the region was also shortchanged in town/city water projects, as there was no allocation to the region in the over 40 new water works projects in the country. A check showed the North being the major beneficiary of the projects, followed by the South-South and the South East.Northern cities benefitting from the water works projects included Talata Marafa,

Takum, Gombe, Biu, Zungeru, Langtang, Damaturu, Uguru, Bulkashuwa, among others. While the reasons for the lopsidedness was not clear, the proposal is, however, subject to review by the relevant committees of the two chambers of the National Assembly.Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, it will be recalled, is from Plateau State, while the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Baba Ahmed, is a royal prince from Bauchi State. Nigeriatribune.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Middle Belt group asks FG to end Boko Haram insurgency.


The Middle Belt Development Association has called on the Federal Government to take decisive steps to end the violence being unleashed on Nigerians in parts of the country by the Boko Haram sect.

The group in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan said this had become necessary in view of the recent classification of the group as a terrorist organization.

The letter entitled: “The Middle Belt Region Abandoned” and jointly signed by National President of Middle Belt Youth Forum, Comrade Pius Attah and Secretary of Middle Belt Development Association, Dennis Dateer chronicled various issues which they noted were against the interest of the region.

The letter alleged that the Middle Belt Region had been suffering neglect and attacks which have resulted in increasing insecurity, poverty, famine, high level of school drop outs, among others, which should be accorded attention.

“It has become very obvious that the long-plotted strategies to subdue, subjugate and castrate the Middle Belt Region in the country is no longer hidden but in full force for factors earlier stated above. No doubt, the increasing wave of political marginalization, religious extremism and other forms of unnecessary violence which have continued unabated are undermining the existence of the Middle Belt Region”, the letter said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Prof Okorie Nigerians should be ready for revolution.


As many Nigerians welcome the convocation of the National Conference, a former member of the defunct Constituent Assembly and a university don, Prof. Aja Okorie, has said those calling for break up may be doing so because of selfishness and do not know where it would lead the country.

He spoke on various issues and cautioned that there would be mass movement if the President tried to sweep the outcome of the conference under the carpet. Excerpts:

What is your opinion on the national dialogue approved by President Goodluck Jonathan?

In my opinion, it should not be Sovereign National Conference because the problem with it is that when you call it sovereign, Nigeria can break up; some

components can decide to break away. I do not think that Nigeria should break up, rather I think that Nigeria should dialogue to discuss all the political issues but not including break up of Nigeria. The United States is very important because of its size, China is important because of its size and diversity; even Russia and Germany.

You said Nigeria should not break-up, what then should be the solution to Nigeria’s problem?

People are calling for break-up because of bad governance, dishonesty and corruption of leadership at all levels. I don’t subscribe to break-up because if you try to break up, the Eastern Region won’t even be together; you will find out that the South-South would want to break up; maybe West will try to keep together. You will find out that the Middle Belt would want to break up, North East and North West would want to break-up and we would make a mess of Nigeria. None of these components will wield the influence of things that attributed to Nigeria as giant of Africa.

Those who are calling for break up, if there are any, I think they are calling for break up because of selfishness; they don’t know where the break up will reach because it can now split us into 10 and what are we going to gain. The diversity which is our strength can be used to strengthen Nigeria. I earlier told you that the solution is to stop corruption and reduce to minimum if not to zero. All corrupt leaders present and past should be brought to book because if we end corruption, people will stop agitation. And then if we bring in equity and justice and if the institutions are working, Nigeria will be growing. When you get to the judiciary, you don’t get justice if you haven’t stolen money to give to lawyers. So, why people are calling for break up like I said is because of bad governance arising from the corrupt institutions that are not working. What we need to minimize corruption is good leadership and federal character; we need equity, we need merit to put the right people in the right places; that is the solution and these issues are what we need to discuss.

We have universities that can’t produce good graduates to take care of the people; you find us going to China to go and learn how to plant rice, how to make machine for parboiling rice. We have to go to Arab countries to get Arab contractors to build our roads. It is a shame we have so many engineers and we can’t build our roads and the people who try to build our roads would want to get 250 percent gain and people who give them the contract take more than 100 percent up front. These are things we should look at. How do you make our judicial system work, how do you make our educational system work, how do you make the health system people look at the capital flight in terms of medical tourism. Now, we are having the first open heart surgery and not even done by the Nigerian doctors in Ibadan and we claim to be the giant of Africa. You find our students going to Ghana for university education. When we were in the universities in 70s, Ghanaians were coming to Nigerian universities. These are issues now government says it doesn’t have N500 billion to give to all federal and state universities for upgrade of equipment of hostels but government has money to waste for pilgrimage and for hajj. Government has money for one minister to buy one or two cars for up to N250 million and this is the sort of country we are in and nobody is being fired. So, corruption like Carrington said is the bane of Nigeria; it is not an issue of breaking up, it is the issue of tackling corruption and tackling corruption cannot come from the grassroots. It has to come from the presidency, from governors, ministers to commissioners and local government chairmen and if the presidency does his work with his executives, the governors and governors do it with their commissioners and the local government chairmen, Nigerians won’t be asking for a break up. So, it is corruption, building institutions and getting our educational and health system work.

Don’t you think that this is another jamboree where the decisions could be swept under the carpet?

Well people call it diversionary tactics of the President but what I will say is that Nigerians should not allow this to go like others. Nigerians should have a silent revolution; there should be mass movement if the President tries to sweep it under the carpet and I don’t think it should be subjected to National Assembly because National Assembly is one of the institutions that is not working. This is because when the National Assembly is there, they went around and said they want constitution review and people gave their opinion. Even at the state level, there was a lot of manipulation and of course, 90 percent of people at the National Assembly were not elected; they were selected. So, some of us don’t have confidence in National Assembly to do anything and the process of selecting those that would go for this National Dialogue or conference should not be influenced by government and the decisions should be implemented by the presidency the way majority have agreed upon for the survival of Nigeria. When it goes to the Senate, there will be manipulations; they will take voice vote instead of using electronic vote. Nigerians should stand up like they stood up about the oil subsidy; that is my position because if Nigerians say no and come out en-masse and insist that the outcome of the national dialogue should be implemented, it should be implemented. Like I said before, the issue of break up, the issue of sovereignty of Nigeria should be no go area. It will not help us, China is very big America is very big Germany is very big by European standard and that is what we need in Nigeria.

How would the members be selected?

They should be genuinely elected not like the PDP style. From the grassroots without what happens in normal political elections because INEC is a problem. If we cannot select those people without government interference, there is no need for National dialogue. So, that selection process is very important. People should be selected by their communities, constituencies without undue influence from any ruling party or opposition in the country. People should be allowed and we should be careful with people we select and the committee should draw out clear criteria for this selection process because it I important it is what we put in there we get out. If it is another political jamboree, then Nigeria should not waste its money and in fact, it could have been better if this National conference has come after 2015 with the new Assembly to be elected.

What do you suggest should be the Igbo agenda?

Well, it depends upon how the thing is set up. I think the major contribution I will be making is complete eradication of corruption making sure that the institutions are working and the judiciary making sure that the Armed forces are not influenced by politics. They are not corrupt because when these two things are working, legal and security agencies and when corruption is minimized, the issue of being an Ibo man or not being an Ibo man will not arise. When you look at United States, when you move from one state to another, after six months, you can contest election. I will want a situation where census is done properly, when the population commission includes ethnicity into the data they collate and also religion. This is because we ought to know, we need to know how many Muslims, how many Christians and how many other denominations we have in Nigeria and we ought to know how many Ibo people who are living in Kano and in Lagos. We need the true census, as a basis for planning that will show us all the details. Why should we have a census when we don’t know how many Ibo people that live in Lagos and Kano, why should we have a census when we don’t know how many Muslims or Hausa are living in Ebonyi state? I like a situation where a person after living in a state or even a local government for five years should be able to contest election. I am talking about the issue of indigene or what makes one to be qualified to enjoy the facilities there. Now, they count you to say that the population of Kano or Lagos is like this and then when the amenities come, you are excluded, you are not allowed to contest, you are not allowed to get land and yet you are supposed to be among the people making up the number.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Supporting Nigeria Against Biafra was our Greatest Mistake — Asari Dokubo.


asari dokubo 1

Southern Nigeria Minorities Confess their Mistake in supporting Nigeria Against Biafran

Culled from News Express

Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo Asari, late this morning spoke about his anguish over the failure by his people to allow the breakaway Republic of Biafra to succeed.

Launched in 1967 by the old East under the command of the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Biafra was crushed three years after by the Nigerian Government and its international allies.

In a post on his Facebook wall around noon, Dokubo regretted the role played by the then so called eastern minorities in sabotaging Biafra. He also cast his vote for an Igbo or Middle Belt person to succeed President Goodluck Jonathan.

The post, which appears to be excerpts of a speech delivered at a meeting of Niger Delta, Igbo and Middle Belt groups, says thus:

“Today, if anything will stir me to fight, it is my belief that Biafra was right. When I was growing up, we were told a lot of things to hate Biafra. Maybe some of us were persuaded. But the more I grow up, the more I realize that it was the greatest mistake we made for not allowing Biafra to stand.

“You might not feel the pain that I feel, but if an Igbo man does not feel the pain that I feel, I am sorry for him. If an Urhobo man doesn’t feel the pain, I am sorry for him.

“What Ojukwu lived and died for, in the coming years, we will see it with our eyes because of the arrogance of a few people that were born to rule, and everybody accepts it. When you want to talk they say leave them alone. Why should I leave them? If you don’t bend your back, nobody will ride you.

“For the first time in history, the divide and rule tactics of those who have kept us down failed and the Igbo voted more for President Jonathan than the people of the South-South.

“Our gathering today is to bring the gathering of the dispossessed and oppressed people of the Middle Belt, Ndigbo people and the people of the Niger Delta together and we are going to move like a force.

“Let nobody be apologetic. What we want is political power. Political power is the key to our development and our dignity, and political power we must own come 2015. If President Jonathan says he is not contesting, we must hold on to the presidency. Either an Igbo man takes it or someone from the Middle Belt, we will continue to hold it.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Premature Election Fever And Security Challenges In Nigeria By Zainab Usman.

By Zainab Usman

‘…These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state… As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this’, declared Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. This was during his recent imposition of a State of Emergency to mark the onset of army raids in parts of Nigeria’s North-East, the strong hold of the Jama’atul Ahlus Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, commonly known as Boko Haram, which has waged a deadly insurgency war against the Nigerian state since 2009.

While Boko Haram is apparently the biggest security headache for Africa’s most populous country, it certainly isn’t its only security challenge. Pockets of violence in the oil-rich Niger-Delta, the rise of other militias in the South-West and the Middle-Belt, alarming incidents of kidnapping in the South-East, frequent eruptions of communal violence in Jos, and other forms of violent crime abound. Crucially, the increase in militant activity should be situated within the larger context of Nigeria’s political economy and the 2015 general elections, on which most of the political elite and their networks are now fixated.
Since the transition to democracy in 1999, Nigeria has experienced a period of sustained economic growth averaging 7.4%, driven partly by the rise in global oil prices. Lucrative oil revenues, accounting for 80% of government revenues, have heightened intensely competitive contestations for political office, to do-or-die proportions. Politicians frequently ratchet up identity-based rhetoric along North-South, Christian-Muslim, and other fault lines in the run up to elections. Predictably, with such fierce competition for public offices, election season is punctuated with violence. Events in the Western Region in 1964 and in parts of the North in 2011 serve as particularly notorious examples of the devastation such violence can cause.

Given the enormous (oil) revenues accruing to the government, political posturing towards 2015 elections seems to have started much earlier than usual. Presently, political discourse in Nigeria is feverishly centred on the potential candidates for president and the state governors. Heated political commentaries focus on what region’s “turn” it is to produce the president. The threats and counter-threats being made by various groups are indicative of the acrimony that followed the collapse in 2011 of the ruling People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) 12-year power-sharing formula between the North and the South. Steps towards a coalition by the main opposition parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC), add fuel to an already raging debate. Nigeria’s growing number of militant groups can only be understood within this context of fierce rhetoric and political re-alignments.

One thread that runs through the militias – Boko Haram, Niger-Delta militants, the Odudua People’s Congress (OPC) and others – is that despite their varied approaches, they provide platforms for those disillusioned with Nigeria’s narrow political system to express their grievances, albeit violently. For example, people in the Niger-Delta have long demanded that underdevelopment in the region be addressed by the government. However, it was only after young men from the area engaged in a sustained insurgency, which crippled oil production, that a government-backed Amnesty Programme was initiated in 2009 to address some of their grievances.
A similar pattern is observable with Boko Haram, where radicalised young men up North have now attained local and international infamy. Their goal is not just to secure the release of detained members but also to reach the unfeasible goal of usurping Nigeria’s secular constitution with Islamic law. Alongside ongoing military action, the government is also considering an amnesty proposal for Boko Haram.
Consequently, these groups cannot just be understood in terms of the security risk they pose or the criminal elements they harbour. They must also be read in political terms, and seen as platforms for the assertion of authority by sections of Nigerians. The country has an exclusionary political system dominated by ‘big men’ or ’godfathers’, and their associates and networks. Barring familial link or other ‘connections’ to these networks, direct participation in Nigeria’s political system depends on luck, or as these groups have discovered, by causing enough mayhem to get the attention of those who matter.
Without such violent mobilisation, members of these militia groups would, politically, be in the same boat as any of the 61% of Nigerians living below the poverty line, or the rest of the rising middle class, who are yet to constitute a critical mass that can effectively demand representation or accountability in decision-making.  The power, ‘fame’ and lucrative payoffs that insurgents have gained by carrying arms against the state undermines the sustainability of state interventions and begs the question: what can they realistically offer these groups, and those that will follow them, to pacify their actions in the long term?

Returning to the run-up to Nigeria’s elections in 2015, there are several ways in which militia groups might exercise their new-found power. Some may rally around a particular candidate, allowing them to benefit from the mix of legitimacy and fear that such groups bring. In Nigeria, where there is a long trend of political thugs being recruited by desperate politicians, this would not be an unexpected development. Conversely, Boko Haram, in particular, may try and prevent elections in the North East happening at all.  Finally, should these groups be co-opted or crushed, we may see the rise of counter-militias to fill the vacuum that they leave. The massive funds allocated to national security at just under N1 trillion ($4.5 billion) may well give the government the firepower it needs to temporarily destroy or buy-off these groups, but such large funding flows could, just as easily, create sectors of the government who have a vested interest in maintaining an atmosphere of insecurity.

Whatever course these government and militia groups take, the results of the election in 2015 will undoubtedly have immense implications for political stability and security in the country. Boko Haram, for example, is understood by many Southerners in Nigera in terms of the country’s North-South divide. Currently, the group is split into three factions. The main group’s ‘war’ against the Nigerian state started in 2009, before Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner from the Niger-Delta, became President. However, the narrative that has gained currency in the South, is that Boko Haram is a tool used by disgruntled northern politicians, in the fall-out of the PDP’s power-sharing agreement, to destabilise Jonathan’s government. In the unlikely event that the APC fields a northern-Muslim candidate who defeats Jonathan at the polls, the knock-on effects for Boko Haram will be huge.

Regardless of whether Jonathan is unseated, 2015 will also be an important moment for the oil-rich Niger-Delta. Ex-militants have been pacified by an expensive amnesty programme which coincidentally expires in 2015. They have also benefitted immensely from government pay-outs and lucrative security contracts, in one instance worth $103 million. Whether these conciliatory measures continue will depend on who the incoming President needed to appease to secure their electoral victory.

As tremendous political and financial resources continue to pour into Nigeria’s security challenges and its upcoming elections, it is unclear who the winners will be. However, it is unlikely that they will include most ordinary Nigerians in the sun-scorched arid areas of the North-East or those in the oily creeks of the Niger-Delta
Zainab Usman, @msszeeusman blogs at


Jonathan Accused Of Deceit, Religious Bias Over Nomination Of Minister Of Defence.

By SaharaReporters, New York

In a surprise move earlier today, a political group from the Middle Belt accused President Goodluck Jonathan of being a deceitful leader who fails to reward loyalty but instead snubs his support base in matters of political appointments. The scathing criticism came from unexpected quarters: the Middle Belt that is regarded as the president’s strongest support base in Northern Nigeria.

In a memo, a group called the Middle Belt Dialogue accused the president of retreating from his earlier nomination of General Bitrus Ushe (rtd) as a ministerial nominee from Kebbi State. The group alleged that Mr. Jonathan abandoned the retired general because of the erstwhile nominee’s Christian faith. The statement added that the president was desperate to please certain interest groups in the north.  SaharaReporters obtained a copy of the memo, which was sent to Mr. Jonathan and his top aides.

Titled “Under President Goodluck Jonathan Loyalty Does Not Pay,” the memo was signed by one Emma Endazo Alamu on behalf of the pressure group. The memo flayed the president for shoving aside Mr. Ushe after initially tapping the retired general for a ministerial slot.

The full statement is reproduced below:

“We received with shock and dismay the nomination of Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), as a ministerial nominee representing Kebbi State by President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan. It is interesting to note that President Goodluck Jonathan has gone out of his way to placate those who vigorously, albeit violently, opposed his election as President of the Federal Republic, and promised to make the country ungovernable, should he win the 2011 elections.

This time, the President has gone ahead to nominate the 2011 Governorship candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Kebbi as the ministerial nominee in place of the initial Zuru-Christian nominee, Brigadier General Bitrus Ushe (rtd) whose only crime is his tribe and religion. This President has acted against the Zuru Senatorial District which voted for him. Indeed the bulk of the 369,198 votes the President got in the 2011 elections were from Zuru area. After his swearing in ceremony President Goodluck Jonathan had nominated the then National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello and the people of Zuru did not bat an eyelid, and upon Dr. Haliru’s resignation, Brig. Gen. Bitrus Usher was considered as a possible replacement. When this became public knowledge, the Chairman of the PDP in Kebbi State, Alhaji Mansur Shehu, objected to the possible nomination saying that General Ushe was not acceptable to the party because they (in the PDP) did not know him as bona fide PDP member, in spite of the fact that it is public knowledge that the General is a card carrying member of the PDP and actively worked to ensure that President Jonathan got the 36% of the votes he got during the April 2011 elections.

“It is now clear that President Jonathan denied General Ushe, his supporter, the ministerial nomination because he is a Middle Belter, a Dakarkar by tribe and to wit, a Christian!

The only sin of the Zuru people, we believe, is that they are a minority like their brothers and sisters in Gombe, Yobe, Niger, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kaduna, Borno, Kogi etc, whose support and vote for President Goodluck Jonathan has been rewarded by the denial of political appointments, which he prefers to give to the areas and peoples who voted against him, and organized violent attacks on his supporters, killing and maiming several thousands and destroying their properties to wit.

“We are not really surprised by these unfriendly actions of the President, who has refused to give assistance to the communities traumatized by the post-election violence, and did not even bother to send relief materials to the communities or even visit them. Even when the President set up a committee to investigate the post-election violence (the Lemu Committee) he ensured that we, the minorities, the victims of the violence, were not represented.

“It is interesting to note that out of the 22 Ministers of President Goodluck Jonathan from the North, only five are from local government areas which voted for the PDP in the 2011 elections. We in the Middle Belt Dialogue do know of several ministers and other Federal appointees who did actively campaign against him, voted against him and have refused to be supportive of him, and are in fact gearing to do the same come 2015, should he decide to contest. We, the people of the Middle Belt, feel betrayed by our fellow brother, who has refused to give us justice, and as a matter of fact, treats our people with contempt.

“It might interest President Jonathan and his advisers to note the following:

I. The people and interests he is promoting will not change their opposition to him;

II. He is strengthening and arming those who do not wish him and his people well;

III. Statistically, and as can be seen from the 2011 election results, it is politically suicidal to treat the Middle Belt people (the aborigines of Northern Nigeria) with contempt: where we stand will again determine the winners and losers of subsequent Nigerian elections.

IV. We supported the President to further our interests and not to weaken our people as the President has been doing.

V. All over the world, people give support to benefit from appointments, projects, policies and programs. For President Jonathan, favor and appointments go to those who oppose him. Is President Jonathan telling us the people of the Middle Belt to go to the opposition, as it pays high dividend opposing the President?

“Finally we wish to use this medium to advise our Niger Delta brothers that they should talk to their son to stop treating our people with such disdain and contempt. We are not asking for what belongs to other people. We are seeking for fairness and equity which President Jonathan is denying our people, his loyal supporters.”

Islamic Group Reigning Terror on Christians in Nigeria.

Boko Haram
Victims of a bomb attack wait for treatment at Garkuwan hospital in Nigeria‘s northern city of Kaduna October 28, 2012. A suicide bomber drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a Catholic church in northern Nigeria, killing at least three people and triggering reprisal attacks that killed at least two more, witnesses and police said (Reuters)

As Reverend Father Bonni Bazah was about to commence Holy Communion at St. Rita’s Catholic Church, an SUV plowed through the walls of his church.

“I heard a loud bang on the wall. Suddenly, I saw the wall caving in towards us,” Bazah said inspeaking with reporters from his hospital bed. “Then, I saw an SUV. I was about to shout for everyone to run away when I heard the loudest explosion I have ever heard. Immediately, I saw my body covered with blood and bodies were strewn around. After that I lost consciousness.”

At 9:00 a.m. on October 28, an SUV loaded with explosives rammed into the side of St. Rita’s Catholic Church. Once it had forced its way into the church, it detonated, claiming the lives of at least eight people, including the bomber, and injuring over 140 others.

The suicide bomber was reportedly detained at the church compound’s gate before ramming through the gate and into the side of the church.

“All of the sudden [the SUV] drove [at a] high speed and rammed into the church wall, forcing its way into the church,”witness Samuel Emmanuel told the press. “Initially, I thought the driver had lost control of the vehicle, [but] suddenly there was a huge explosion as the vehicle reached the church building.”

St. Rita’s is located in Kaduna, a city in the heart of Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” region. The Middle Belt is where the largely Christian South and the predominantly Muslim North collide. Nigeria’s Middle Belt is also the stage where Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group, has unleashed its campaign of terror against Christians.

Although Boko Haram has yet to claim responsibility for the bombing at St. Rita’s, many suspect the group’s involvement. Rumors were circulating that Boko Haram was planning to carry out an attack on Christians during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, which ended two days before the SUV plowed through the walls at St. Rita’s. In the past, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks on churches very similar to the one witnessed at St. Rita’s.

Boko Haram is aiming to carve out a separate Islamic state in Nigeria’s northern states, where it plans to implement a strict form of Sharia law. To date, Boko Haram has killed over 3,000 people as it continues to fight Nigeria’s government for control of the North. The list of causalities includes many Christians killed in their places of worship.

Last year, Boko Haram demanded all Christians leave the northern states of Nigeria so it could create a purely Islamic society. Christians that stayed behind have become easy targets for Boko Haram’s acts of terror, including suicide bombs at churches and drive-by shootings at Christian gathering places.

Many Christians in the Middle Belt region are living in a constant state of fear and taking measures to protect themselves as they gather for worship. Churches are installing metal detectors to ensure weapons and explosives are not brought into worship services by members of Boko Haram.

Fortunately, the security measures taken by some churches have saved many lives. At St. John’s, security measures taken by the church saved the lives of many of their parishioners when they were attacked on Sept. 23.

In a statement to the press, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of St. John’s said, “There would have been more causalities but people are now more security conscious. It was the first batch of people [dismissed] from the church that were attacked. Luckily they were not so many.”

The newly formed Christian Association of Nigerian Americans has called on the U.S. government to designate Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization, hoping that doing so will make it harder for Boko Haram to access weapons and funds. To date, the U.S. State Department has only designated three of Boko Haram’s leaders as terrorists; it has fallen short of labeling the group itself a terrorist organization.

Rev. James Fadele, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigerian Americans, told reporters in Washington, D.C., “The extermination of Christians by Boko Haram is fast assuming the proportion of genocide.”

Both the Nigerian government and the US government must take a stand against Boko Haram and end its campaign of violence against Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. If decisive action is not taken to confront the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, Christians will continue to be murdered in their places of worship on a weekly basis.

This could potentially lead to the complete extinction of Christianity in Nigeria’s Northern and Middle Belt regions.



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