YAOUNDÈ, Cameroon – A leading Nigerian human rights organization has published a report claiming that largely Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed about 700 Christians in May as “farewell gifts” to former President Muhamadu Buhari.
Buhari handed over power to new President Bola Tinubu on May 29, but the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law in a June 12 report said Fulani herdsmen had killed hundreds of Christians as a way of bidding farewell to a president accused of using his 2015-2023 tenure to foster an anti-Christian, pro-Muslim agenda in Africa’s most populous state.
“The Nigerian radical Islamic leaders who marked the end of their civilian office tenures on 29th May 2023 were wished ‘farewell’ by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, who marked the end of their office tenures by slaughtering not less than 700 defenseless Christians in May 2023 (month of handover),” states the report, compiled by Emeka Umeagbalasi, a Catholic human rights activist and chairman of the organization.
The report, a copy of which was sent to Crux, offers details of alleged Christian killings in several states, noting that “Plateau [state]‘donated’ 350 Christian lives, Benue 190, Kaduna 100, Nasarawa 62, Niger 50, Taraba 40, Borno/Yobe 40, etc.”
“Not less than 1,100 defenseless Christians were hacked to death by Nigerian Government backed Islamic Jihadists in the past 60 days, between 12th April and 12th June 2023,” the report claims, noting that total works out to “a daily average of 17 Christian deaths.”
The report also asserts that 2,150 Christians “have been slaughtered by non-state actors/Nigerian Government backed Islamic Jihadists in the past 160 days, 1st Jan to 12th June 2023. Over 1,400 others were abducted, out of which 10 percent, or 140, may be incapable of returning to their families alive.”
The report claims that 100 churches were razed or destroyed by Islamic Jihadists in the past sixty days, between April 12 and June 12, with 20 pastors attacked.
The new report confirms the trends in an April 10 document which claimed that at least 53,350 Christians have been slaughtered since a 2009 Islamic uprising, with 18,100 churches and 2,200 schools wantonly burned down.
Under the eight years of Buhari and Nasir El-Rufai, the outgoing governor of Kaduna State where much of the Fulani-driven violence has been concentrated, at least 31,350 Christians have been hacked to death and over 200 pastors attacked, according to the report.
Approximately 34,000 moderate Muslims were also butchered or hacked to death within the same period.
It said more than 50 million Christians, mostly in Northern Nigeria, face “serious jihadist threats for being professed Christians,” and no fewer than “14 million have been uprooted and 8 million forced to flee their homes to avoid being hacked to death.”
Meanwhile, some “5 million have been displaced and forced into Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDP) camps within Nigeria and refugee camps at regional and sub-regional borders.”
The report assigns fault for this pattern of assaults on Christians and Christian Churches with the “radical Islamism” of Buhari and El-Rufai.
A recent recording of El-Rufai is cited in support of the charge.
“The former Kaduna civilian governor had a video/audio clip of his boastful ‘successful transformation of Nigeria into Islamic State by successful replication of full Islamic rule in Kaduna State since 2015 at the federal level,’ culminating into emergence of Muslim-Muslim Presidency of Nigeria,” the report states.
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law report says the killing of Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, a central region of the country including Kaduna, has been “a carefully planned, systematically executed and well-funded State Jihadism Project, modeled after the ‘Sudanese Janjaweed’ of Omar Hassan el-Bashir’s atrocious era (1989-2019).”
The group is now calling for the arrest of El-Rufai, Buhari and others whom it accuses of committing genocide and crimes against humanity.
“The UK Government as a state party to the Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998 … should ensure that the likes of El-Rufai, Buhari, Buratai, Musa Daura, Arase, Alkali Baba and the rest of the served and the serving senior security officers in the country … are blocked from setting their feet on UK soil or arrested and charged for crimes against humanity and genocide or incitement to same, if they do set their feet on UK soil,” the group said.
“Where it is found that they have appointive or elective engagements, such as the academic board (Oxford) in the case of El-Rufai, such appointments or elections should be terminated,” the report asserts
The group asserts that it is morally reprehensible for the UK government to play host to violators and abusers of human rights and promoters of genocide.
“The UK Government cannot … globally parade itself as ‘a democratic and human rights respecter state’ and at the same time [be] found wanting as a country encouraging or harboring grisly and egregious human rights abuses and violations and their abusers or violators.”