A MAJOR new report has demanded that a new sanctions program is aimed at individuals and organisations in Nigeria to end Christian persecution.
It has warned that the situation is “intolerable” with claims that almost 100,000 Christians have been murdered for their faith in the west african state in the first two decades of this century.
The report, co-authored by The International Organisation for Peace Building and Social Justice (PSJ UK), the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) and the International Freedom of Religion or Belief All Party Parliamentary Group claims that over the past 20 years Nigeria has suffered more violent incidents and deaths compared to the rest of the combined West Africa region.
It has noted that a combination of Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Fulani Militants and other extremist groups have been responsible for the murders of more than 96,000 Christians, according to a new report in almost 21,000 separate attacks.
The report has also included polling from Savanta ComRes suggesting that the UK public supports decisive action to address these horrifying statistics.
Three in five UK adults say in the survey that they support imposing sanctions on individuals who have been held responsible for human rights abuses.
And the report has recommended that this could be part of the UK’s new Magnitsky sanctions program.
The poll shows that two in five (39 percent) UK adults expect the UK to speak out against violence towards Christians in Nigeria while more than half want foreign aid linked to protecting Christian minorities.
There is also strong support for military intervention in Nigeria. A majority (53 percent) of those surveyed supported calling on the UN to send peacekeeping forces to intervene in the crisis, and a quarter of those surveyed believed that direct military intervention from the UK would help solve this crisis.
Ayo Adedoyin, Chief Executive of PSJ UK, said: “This situation cannot be tolerated. Tens of thousands of Christians have been murdered in Nigeria and many thousands more have been subjected to vicious assault.
“The British government must do more to support Nigerian Christians and should apply sanctions to the members of the Nigerian government that are, at best, turning a blind eye to this ongoing catastrophe.”
According to the report 43,242 of the Christian deaths as a result of the terrorism inflicted by Boko Haram, Islamic State, ISWAP and Al-Queda; 18,834 as a result of the terrorism inflicted by Fulani Militant Extremists; and 34,233 as a result of the terrorism inflicted by all other actors.
Based on data collected between 2000-2019, deaths resulting from Fulani Militant attacks include 17,284 across Nigeria and 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
Vice chair of the APPG Fiona Bruce MP said: “Targeted attacks against churches and heightening religious tensions indicate that religious identity plays a role in the farmer-herder conflict”.
Another vice chair of the APPG Lord Alton of Liverpool said: “Some local observers have gone so far as to describe the rising attacks as a campaign of ethno-religious cleansing. Armed with sophisticated weaponry, including AK47s and, in at least one case, a rocket launcher and rocket-propelled grenades, the Fulani militia have murdered more men, women and children in 2015, 2016 and 2017 than even Boko Haram, destroying, overrunning and seizing property and land, and displacing tens of thousands of people. This is organised and systematic.”