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Persecution: Nigeria – Land grab

September 2016 | by Iain Shaw

Nigerian Christians have suffered a death toll of at least 133 since mid-June, after Islamist group Fulani have embarked on a wave of violence.

According to reports from Barnabas Fund, on 10 July a pastor’s wife was murdered in Abuja as she shared the gospel in her local neighbourhood. The following week, a mob of more than 100 attacked a church on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital. Since then, the wave of violence against Christians has continued.

At least 133 Nigerian Christians have been murdered by Fulani Muslim herdsmen since mid-June. One pastor in central Nigeria told Barnabas Fund, ‘This is another jihad. The attackers just come, often overnight when people are sleeping’.

Barnabas Fund claims the Fulani have targeted Christians, both for their faith and their land, as many believers come from farming communities, while the Fulani are cattle herders who need large tracts of land for grazing.

Most recent attacks have been in Benue state, but believers in Plateau state, where Fulani massacred nearly 500 Christians in a single attack in 2010, have also been targeted.

The federal government is proposing the creation of ‘grazing reserves’ for the herdsmen. However, Christian leaders have said this would amount to rewarding them for the atrocities they have carried out against Christian communities in central Nigeria. 

Iain Shaw