Persecution in Nigeria Intensifies as Colleges Reportedly Ban Christian Worship

With persecution intensifying in Nigeria, many Christians face amplified social pressures. The latest example centres on two government colleges. Sean Nelson, legal counsel for ADF International, warns of dangerous, anti-Christian bias on these campuses. “The situation in Nigeria, is a very, very difficult situation for Christians, in particular, especially in the northern part of the country,” Nelson said. “Nigeria is the largest democracy in Africa. … It’s roughly equally divided between Christians and Muslims, with the northern portion of the country being predominantly Muslim.” It’s in that region where many Christians become “marginalized” and face discrimination. Nelson and ADF International are now sounding the alarm over two universities — one federal and one state — that have reportedly barred Christian students from “being able to use any facilities for worship or fellowship.” “The reason you know it’s discrimination is that … the Muslim students are completely allowed to use all of these facilities,” he said. “They’re preventing Christians from using those spaces, from worshipping on campus, having fellowship; they must go off campus to do that. It’s discrimination.”

Nelson said such restrictions are a total violation of Nigeria’s constitution, which protects freedom of religion and belief. But, as has been extensively reported, Christians aren’t only facing social pressure; some are facing violence and death, with officials failing to uphold protections. “When you combine the college issue with some of the targeted killings that Christians are facing all across the north, there’s been hundreds of kidnappings in just the last couple of weeks,” Nelson said. “It’s a really horrible situation for them.” Nelson said the government in Nigeria isn’t prosecuting people who commit such horrific crimes, citing the case of Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a Christian and a Shehu Shagari College of Education student in Sokoto, Nigeria, who was brutally murdered May 12, 2022. The violent attack was purportedly filmed and shared on social media, but Nelson said no one was held accountable. “Nobody is ever punished,” Nelson said. “In Deborah’s case, they arrested two attackers … and they release them a year later for failure to prosecute, and so they are free. No one has been held accountable for that. No one is ever held accountable for any of these kinds of attacks.

As recently reported, Open Doors’ World Watch List 2024 placed Nigeria in the sixth spot in its rankings of nations where anti-Christian persecution and discrimination are the worst. A line from a press release announcing the results read, “More than 82% of Christians killed across the globe for faith reasons were in Nigeria.” “Faith-related killings in sub-Saharan Africa far outstripped those of any other region on the annual list,” the release continued. “This has been a trend for several years.” Other persecution watchdogs have come to similar conclusions. Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern (ICC) and one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on religious freedom and persecution, said last year that his organization’s “2023 Persecutors of the Year” report also reveals the full scope of the problem. “Most Christians have no idea what’s going on in Nigeria, but imagine this: for the last 20 years, probably up to about 100,000 Christians have been murdered,” King said. “Three-and-a-half million Christians, their lands have been taken from them, and the government’s pretty much done nothing.”

Source: Faithwire

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