Human rights advocates are calling for investigations and aid as Christians are oppressed in Nigeria's Kaduna State after the Fulani Muslim Governor Nasir El-Rufai forcefully balkanized its Adara Chiefdom.
El-Rufai's 2018 order for the dissolution of the Adara Chiefdom, the largest Christian community in Kaduna State, has escalated discrimination and violence as appointed leaders, including an emir selected by the Muslim governor, have been given authority over the previously self-governed people.
"The international community needs to support this religious and ethnic minority," says Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC), which advocates on behalf of Christians and other faith groups worldwide facing persecution. STPC has submitted its Adara Chiefdom Report summarizing the oppression of the Adara to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief for inclusion in his report to the UN General Assembly scheduled to convene as a hybrid-virtual event in mid-September.
"The indigenous, predominately Christian, Adara are victims of inequalities arising from differences in ethnicity and religion between their community and that of the governor and his administration," the report states. "The Adara are subjected to illegal arrests, religious persecution, intimidation and unrestrained violence."
One documented violent outbreak occurred just days after Adara sued El-Rufai for unlawfully reapportioning the Adara Chiefdom. Suspected Fulani Militants attacked an Adara village, murdering 11 people—mostly women, children and the elderly.
The report indicates attacks like these are not uncommon and regularly threaten lives of the ethnic minority.
"More than 300 Christians were killed in Nigeria in July," said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians.
Of those, at least 100 were from Kaduna. This year already nearly 2,000 Christians have been mercilessly hacked and shot to death in surprise raids on their villages. These deadly, senseless attacks are often portrayed as ongoing clashes between farmers and herders. Those who follow closely believe they are part of a larger agenda — seemingly supported by government officials and security agencies — to drive Christians off their lands. Nigerian citizens have been disarmed by the government, but somehow, the Militant Fulani herdsmen are armed to the teeth and have no fear of encountering security response or capture. Rarely are the perpetrators captured or prosecuted, but frequently, the victims themselves are harassed and arrested after terrorist-friendly government officials like Governor El-Rufai circulates claims of 'reprisal' attacks.In the past few weeks, at least 19 were killed by gunmen in the village of Kukim Daji. The next day, 11 people were killed by Militants in the village of Gora Gan. On July 22, at least 38 people were killed in raids on two other villages and on August 6, 33 people were killed in Zango Kataf.
STPC's coalition partner, the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) released a comprehensive report, "Nigeria's Silent Slaughter: Genocide in Nigeria and the Implications for the International Community," on July 28. Using data from January 1, 2000, to January 31, 2019, ICON's report exposes how one of the world's deadliest terrorist groups, Boko Haram, has killed more than 43,000 Nigerians, the vast majority women and children. Additionally, it raises awareness of the continuing onslaught by Fulani Militants, who have killed nearly 19,000 Nigerians, primarily Christian farmers. Based on data collected, between 2000 and 2019, deaths resulting from Fulani Militant attacks include 17,284 across the country, 13,079 in predominantly Christian states (Benue, Kaduna, Plateau and Taraba). That means three of every four Fulani Militant victims during this time were Christians.
The systemic, political and religious discrimination that torments Adara communities, and others of Kaduna state, must be remedied, according to STPC, which is pushing for an independent international body to host a hearing to investigate the Adara claims and to weigh-in on the people's demand to be reinstated as a first-class Chiefdom; to investigate the government's role in multiple attacks; and to mobilize aid for victims of violence and those displaced and destitute as a result.
"The Governor of Kaduna, Nasir el-Rufai, like Nigeria's President and all senior appointments, including the courts, military and security, are Muslims — most of them are Fulani," said Laugesen. "The endless violence experienced in Kaduna that is met with little to no government resistance, and the political dissolution of the Adara tribe are a microcosm of the genocide of Christians happening in Nigeria today. At some point, the international community must call out those in the Nigerian federal and state governments who are allowing — and enabling — this genocide to grow."
The mission of Save the Persecuted Christians is to save lives and save souls by disseminating actionable information about the magnitude of the persecution taking place globally and by mobilizing concerned Americans for the purpose of disincentivizing further attacks on those who follow Jesus.
With so much of the world's Christian population being imprisoned and/or harassed for their beliefs, such as Christians in Kaduna State and other parts of Nigeria, the need has never been greater for the sort of grassroots campaign STPC's SaveUs Movement is working to foster. Its efforts are modeled after a miraculously successful one that helped free another population suffering from heavy persecution—Soviet Jews—by penalizing those in the Kremlin responsible for such repression.
Through this movement, Save the Persecuted Christians endeavors to provide American policymakers with the popular support they need to effect real change worldwide and alleviate systemically the suffering being experienced by so many of those following Christ.
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