Extremist groups are specifically targeting Christians in Nigeria according to new research by the Observatory for Religious Freedom in Africa (ORFA), which has revealed Christians are between seven to ten times more likely to be killed than Muslims per capita by jihadist groups. For Open Doors’ director of advocacy & public affairs in UK and Ireland, Dr David Landrum these figures are just “the tip of the iceberg.” The number of Christians killed between Oct 2019 and Sep 2020 was 9.6 times higher than the number of Muslims killed in jihadism-related violence per capita. That number slightly decreased in the following year (October 2020 – September 2021) to 7.8 times more likely to be killed than Muslims per capita. Christians were also 59 times more likely to be abducted than Muslims by extremists between 2019 and 2020 per capita, with the number dropping to 4.1 times more between 2020 and 2021.
Dr Landrum said the Nigerian government is failing to control extremist Islam attacks. “One of the first responsibilities of any government is to provide security for its citizens and the Nigerian government are failing in that responsibility, particularly in the middle and north of the country,” he said. For Dr Landrum the current “downplaying of the jihadist nature of the violence” is not helping to stop the attacks. “There are many other drivers such as, headsman, disputes and corruption, violence and banditry. But the core driver is Islamization and if we don’t acknowledge that we will never find solutions and will never really address the problem of security, which people badly need in Nigeria,” he continued. British MP Vicky Ford said: “We recognise that religious identity is a factor however, the underlying drivers are often complex and frequently relate to competition over resources and historical grievances.
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