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Nigerian government bias in rebuilding destroyed structures says Church

West & Central Africa

Nigerian government bias in rebuilding destroyed structures says Church

The Church of the Brethren, also called “Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa A Nigeria” (EYN), the largest in northeastern Nigeria and most impacted by the Islamic Boko Haram Jihadist, has accused the Nigerian government of bias in its rebuilding of structures in northeastern Nigeria destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency fighting to institute Islamic sharia law in the country.

The Church denomination said Boko Haram has destroyed 1,125 of its Churches in the 10 year old insurgency. EYN said the Islamists also targeted and destroyed the Church’s headquarters office complex, which the church has been able rebuild, and a church hall and pastor’s residential quarters still under reconstruction by the Church.

Church destroyed by Boko Haram

Rev. Joel Billi, President of EYN speaking at the 2019 Ministers’ Annual Conference, in Adamawa State, northeastern Nigeria, said “We are tired of fictitious promises. Are worship places not included in the rebuilding of the Northeast? Is Adamawa State excluded from the rebuilding of the Northeast? Why are we flagrantly neglected as if we deserve to be punished? If not for the inadequacy of our security forces and political undertone, Boko Haram would not have overrun us. So, why do we pay for the sin that was not committed by us?”

Robert Spencer, the editor of Jihad Watch, observed that “if Christians anywhere destroyed 1,125 mosques. The outcry would be immediate, sustained, impassioned – and justified. There would governmental studies and lavish media examination of Christian ‘Islamophobia.’ But no one will take any particular notice of this.”

Open Doors, the organisation monitoring Christina persecution in the world, in its recent World Watch List, designated Nigeria as the 12th worst country for Christian persecution. “In parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens. Christians from Muslim backgrounds face persecution from their own families,” Open Doors reported.

A bomb explosion at St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla, Suleja.

The Open Doors report added that the “Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a deadly group that broke away from Nigeria’s Boko Haram … also enslaves Christian women and girls as an integral part of their strategy,” the monitoring organisation said.

As Boko Haram jihadists wreak havoc on predominantly Christian communities in northeastern Nigeria, Muslim Fulani herdsmen are reported to be the most lethal militia destroying predominantly Christian towns and villages in the central region of Nigeria.

The Most Rev Benjamin Argak Kwashi, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jos declared that the Fulani militia are a “bigger threat” to Christians than Boko Haram.

Open Doors further noted that “Nigeria’s score for violence has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by militant Fulani herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and villages and churches burned to the ground.”

The protracted attacks and killing of christians prompted the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in April 2018 to call on Christian communities to rise and defend themselves, otherwise they will perish due to the federal government’s incompetence or reluctance to stop the killing of christians

 

Hassan John is West Africa Editor GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

Image Credits: Google Images/St Theresa Catholic Church Suleja/Destroyed Churches-GCN