For far too long, there has been great darkness in Nigeria where innocent and vulnerable citizens are regularly killed extrajudicially by non-state actors (and in some cases, by state actors). Citizens of the Christian faith in parts of the North and Middle-belt particularly face persecution and daily violence. Instead of taking action to stop the violence, the country’s own government has stood by idly as the blood of innocent Nigerian people has been spilled at the hands of the extremists, Islamist terrorists of Boko Haram, and some Fulani Militants.
As a result, Nigeria and the Lake Chad region have been transformed into an epicenter of terrorist activities and a ticking time bomb. Geopolitical and inter-group tensions have risen so high that any random event could trigger a major catastrophe. PSJ UK & ICON argues that if Nigeria implodes, so goes the whole of Africa. In the ‘Silent Slaughter Report’, PSJ UK & ICON presents carefully researched and documented data and analysis that makes a prima facie case for the religious persecution and genocide that is occurring in Nigeria and the critical need for intervention by the international community – The United Kingdom government needs to make the addressing of this problem, a foreign policy priority.
What is Genocide
The specific definition of genocide includes a precondition of intent and prohibited acts, but it also specifies that the crime of genocide may be committed in a time of peace or in a time of war. The definition of genocide, according to Article II of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:
Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:
After the Holocaust and genocides and mass killings in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur, many dreamed of a world without genocide and mass atrocities. That goal has not been achieved and the world is staring at another ‘Never again’ catastrophe.
Genocide in Nigeria
The situation in Nigeria is dire. Boko Haram has openly and clearly stated their aim to eradicate Christians and they often mount illegal roadblocks on main roads where they separate the Christians from others and proceed to kill, violate and/or abduct them for ransom payments. There is hardly any part of Nigeria, North or South, where there has not been an allegation or genocide or some crime against humanity.
PSJ UK & ICON’s report outlines as much of this data as could be reasonably collected. The report recognizes that there are several types of perpetrators, but concentrates on two main actors:
Over the years, these militant groups have killed thousands and destroyed a lot of properties. The government claims to be “on top of the situation,” but terrorist attacks continue to ravage different parts of the country, and perpetrators appear more emboldened as the political will to professionally investigate the crimes and hold perpetrators accountable is grossly lacking. Impunity reigns.
While religious violence predates the very existence of Nigeria, the report uses data covering January 1, 2000, to January 31, 2020, and speaks to the atrocities taking place during that period of time. Some of the key facts and statistics are highlighted here:
Incidents and Deaths – it is very difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain the exact number of people who have been killed or displaced by attacks carried out by Boko Haram and the Fulani Militant in Nigeria from 2009 to the present. Despite challenges, credible attempts have been made to document the extent of the damage. PSJ UK & ICON rely on various credible sources, including Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project; Nigeria Security Tracker; Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism; and ‘EyeWitness to Atrocities App’ to gather the following data:
Targeting Christians – the report reflects some of the worst atrocities inflicted on churchgoers anywhere in the world.
Conclusion and Recommendations
This executive summary only provides key points from the report. The full report is far more detailed and paints a very full and troubling picture of the atrocities taking place. The facts speak for themselves: they serve as evidence that genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed. The Nigerian government has not demonstrated sufficient willingness or ability to deal with the crises; hence the atrocities have persisted and proliferated. By failing to take action, the Nigerian State is perpetuating the issue. Every day without decisive action, more lives are being lost, thereby inching the country’s destination closer to another Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Darfur, and Myanmar. Can the country survive it? Many believe Nigeria could implode – this would also destabilize the surrounding countries and send millions of refugees into Europe and beyond. Because this is a problem that could affect us all in the global village, PSJ UK is urging Her Majesty’s Government that having played a pivotal role in birthing the country of Nigeria that we know today, the UK has a moral obligation to help safeguard the lives of vulnerable people caught up in the various insecurities which Nigeria presents today.
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