New Report Estimates That Over 8,000 Nigerian Christians Killed, Kidnapped Last Year
Coffins of 17 worshippers and two priests, who were allegedly killed by Fulani herdsmen stand during a funeral service at Ayati-Ikpayongo in Gwer East district of Benue State, north-central Nigeria on May 22, 2018. - Two Nigerian priests and 17 worshippers have been buried, nearly a month after an attack on their church, as Catholics took to the streets calling for an end to a spiral of violence. White coffins containing the bodies of the clergymen and the members of their congregation were laid to rest in central Benue state, which has been hit by a wave of deadly unrest.
Credit: EMMY IBU/AFP via Getty Images.

A new report has estimated that over 5,000 Nigerian Christians were killed in 2022 while over 3,000 were kidnapped.

The report, put out by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), comes as some religious freedom advocates have said that the persecution of Christians in the African nation should be seen as genocide.

“[Intersociety] is emotionally dedicating this special investigative Report to 1,041 slain and disappeared victims of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and other Jihadists’ genocidal attacks carried out across Nigeria in the first 100 days of 2023,” the report says. “The under-listed slain and wounded victims also represent 5,068 others slain or caused to disappear without traces till date by Nigerian Jihadists in 2022.”

The estimates were based on reports from a variety of sources, including media outlets, government reports, nongovernmental organizations statistics, and estimates from diplomats. The report also said that over 1,000 Christians have been killed in 2023.

Intersociety said that the violence was most prevalent in the states of Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Taraba, Niger, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, and Kebbi, according to The Christian Post. Violence has long plagued the African country, with the northern part being more Islamic and the southern region more Christian.

The perpetrators are believed to be members of radical Islamic terror groups, including Fulani herdsmen groups, Boko Haram, and ISAWP (Islamic State West Africa Province). According to the report, the Nigerian military is also responsible for some of the killings. Many Nigerian Christians have long asked for the government to do more to stop the killings and have accused them of encouraging the violence.

The report, which was compiled by criminologist Emeka Umeagbalasi, is also critical of Christian leaders in the country. “The dry material quest and lackadaisical attitudes of the Nigerian Christian leaders are also forcing Christian converts to leave the Church in droves to embrace other non-Christian denominations,” the report says. “It must be warned that if extreme care is not taken to rescue the Christendom and the Church, the churches or church buildings in Nigeria will become the present day Turkish church monuments in fifty years time or less than that.”


The news comes just months after the Biden administration kept Nigeria off of a religious liberty watchlist for the second year in a row. In December, the State Department drew the ire of religious liberty advocates for leaving Nigeria off its list of “Countries of Particular Concern list,” a government watch list for countries that endorse or allow religious violence.

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