Nigeria: Security Forces Responsible for Christian Deaths

Source: FSSPX News

Nigeria's security forces responded more quickly to the killings of cows belonging to Muslim jihadists than to the killing of Christians and other non-Muslims, according to a recent report by a human rights group in this West African country.

According to the report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), published on January 18, 2024, Christians represent 70% of the 100,000 Nigerians killed “directly or indirectly” between 2015 and 2023, in various states.

The report explains that an operational security policy, coded “humanization of cows,” allowed “rapid activation of security forces… against the killers or attackers of “Muslim” cows rather than against the killers or attackers of non-Muslim citizens, particularly Fulani herdsmen and Fulani jihadist bandits,” Intersociety says.

Some of these extrajudicial responses by security forces include arrests, kidnappings, disappearances, and “neutralizations” that have targeted Christians. During this 100-month period, more than 100,000 people were killed, which represents an annual average of 12,500 deaths, 1,050 extrajudicial executions per month and 35 deaths per day.

According to Intersociety, “indirect deaths” include people who died as a result of torture or injuries and those who were kidnapped and reported missing. Others died of starvation in captivity. Added to this are the victims of acts of terror perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen and jihadist Fulani bandits.

The report points out that 70% of the dead were citizens of the southeast, south, and former middle belt regions of Nigeria, mainly inhabited by Christians. In addition to those killed, tens of thousands of other Nigerians were tortured or secretly detained without fair trial or evidence, and many thousands more disappeared permanently.

Yearly Census

The report, Rivers of Blood and Tears Ceaselessly Flowing in Nigeria, highlights numerous illegal security operations in 2015 alone, starting with the massacre in August 2015 of 40 citizens during peaceful protests in the regions of Onitsha, Enugu, Yenagoa, Uyo, Port Harcourt, and Asaba.

The report further cites numerous incidents that occurred in 2016, including the starvation deaths of 240 civilian detainees, including 29 children aged 0 to 5, in the Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State. It also mentions a military bombing, on January 7, 2017, of 236 Christians displaced within their own country, in Borno State.

More recently, Intersociety highlights the involvement of the Nigerian army and other armed state and non-state actors in the assassination of more than 7,000 non-Muslim citizens between January 2021 and November 2023 in the Ibo-inhabited states of Delta, Rivers, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyi. More than 3,200 civilian homes and tens of thousands of other properties: stores, cargo trucks, and automobiles, were burned or destroyed in these places.

Security Forces Turned Partisan

The Intersociety team led by Emeka Umeagbalasi, a Catholic criminologist, concludes that Nigeria's security forces are “questionable in their neutrality and professionalism,” having been “brutally radicalized, biased and bastardized, particularly since July 2015.” They have become “true ‘Islamic-tribal policemen.’” The report calls for an urgent restructuring of security forces to stop “radicalization.”

They add that “the Fulanization factor of the security forces must be addressed head-on, including the elimination of ethno-religious killer elements believed to have been clandestinely conscripted during the disastrous years of Major Gen Muhammad Buhari’s rule.” The Nigerian state must also abandon the famous ‘state jihadism project’ and return the country to its supposedly secular status,” say the Catholic-inspired researchers.

They continue: “We dare say that the security forces of Nigeria will never make significant progress in the areas of security and safety of the territory and citizens of the country as long as the Nigerian government continues to prevaricate and get lost in absurdities, frivolities, and trivialities when it comes to security.”

Finally, the researchers deplore the fact that around 85% of Nigerian security personnel and officials are still “totally illiterate” in terms of security related to Information and Communication Technologies, mental security, and intelligence skills. Intersociety says in addition that officers cannot tackle corruption since some of them have been involved in corrupt practices.