Some exceedingly disturbing reports are coming out of Nigeria, an African country on the Gulf of Guinea, where Christians are experiencing what is being described as “pure genocide.” Church leaders say that 6,000 people – mostly women and children, – have been murdered by Fulani radicals since January! The Fulani are commonly regarded as the world’s largest nomadic group and comprise about 20 million people dispersed across Western Africa. In Nigeria they are the most populous and politically influential ethnic group. As early adopters of Islam, the Fulani participated in jihads in the 16th Century that established them as a dominant social and economic force in Western Africa. In cooperation with Boko Haram since 2009, the Fulani have tried o impose Islamic law across Nigeria by killing and terrorizing countless Christians. According to Open Doors, a charity that provides aid to Christians who live under pressure because of their faith, the Fulani typically “descend on the villages in the night or in the day and carry out cruel attacks against innocent people, including women and children.”
This is exactly the sort of attack that have been reported since January. Nigerian church leaders report that “over 6,000 persons, mostly children, women and the aged have been maimed and killed in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen,” which is prompting their cry to the government of Nigeria “to stop this senseless and blood shedding in the land and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.” Additionally, the Christian Association of Nigeria issued a press release calling on the international community, as well as the United Nations, to intervene in the Fulani attacks, fearing they might spread to other countries as well. “We are particularly worried at the widespread insecurity in the country where wanton attacks and killings by armed Fulani herdsmen, bandits and terrorists have been taking place on a daily basis in our communities unchallenged despite huge investments in the security agencies,” they added, saying President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to bring attackers to justice. The non-profit group Intersociety commented that “Nigeria is drifting to a path of genocide … of the indigenous Christians and other indigenous religionists in Northern Nigeria.” Roman Catholic Bishop William Avenya of Nigeria compares the situation in Nigeria to that of Rwanda were nearly 1 million people were killed in 1994.
Sadly, we cannot be surprise by these events. The Scriptures are replete with warnings that suffering persecution because of faith in Christ is inevitable. Paul made it clear in 2 Timothy 3:12 that, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Likewise, Jesus warned His followers, and modern believers, that “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10). He also taught His disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). Therefore, we should not be surprised that some of the worst persecution recorded in the Bible came at the hands of the religious leaders (Acts 4:1–3). Doubtlessly, the Fulani radicals who are killing Christians in Nigeria believe they are doing so in obedience to the false God of Islam they worship. As believers in the true God. We must be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.