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Nigeria’s Laxed Response to Militias Behind Security Failures: UK-Based Christian Entity

lag of Nigeria/ Credit:Shutterstock

Nigerian government’s lack of strictness in dealing with militia groups is behind the security failures in the West African nation, the leadership of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based human rights organization, has said.

In a Tuesday, September 14 report, the leadership of CSW bemoan multiple cases of banditry that seems to target Christians in Nigeria’s Kaduna State since July.

“Nigeria is currently failing due to the seeming unwillingness of Federal and State authorities to respond swiftly and decisively to the existential threat posed by militia violence while peaceful political dissent or expressions of concern about democratic backsliding and insecurity meet with an unnecessary show of force,” the Founder President of CSW, Thomas Mervyn, says in the report.

Mr. Mervyn who was speaking hours after a Catholic Priest was kidnapped and a Pastor killed, allegedly by members of the predominantly Muslim Fulani militia in Kaduna State is quoted as saying, “Nigerian officials have done woefully little thus far, and that this has allowed impunity to thrive and enabled this violence to metastasize.”

Fr. Benson Yakusak Luka, the Parish Priest of St. Matthew’s Catholic Church Achuna-Sarki in Zangon Kataf LGA within the Diocese of Kafanchan was kidnapped by armed assailants on September 13.

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Pastor Silas Yakubu Ali of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Kibori-Asha Awuce in Zonzon District Church Council (DCC) disappeared on September 11. His lifeless body was found around half a kilometre from his home with bullet and machete wounds.

On the evening of September 12, Fulani assailants attacked Apyizhime Jim village, also in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) killing at least 11 people, including two pregnant women. 

In the September 14 statement, CSW officials express their “deepest condolences to the family, church and community of Reverend Ali, and to those who lost loved ones in the attack on Apyizhime Jim village.”

“Our prayers are also with Rev. Fr. Benson Yakusak, whose abduction highlights once again the existence of a religious component to the violence underway in southern Kaduna,” CSW leadership says.

In the September 14 statement, CSW President calls upon relevant Nigerian authorities to strengthen the protection of “vulnerable communities” against terrorists. 

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“We urge the authorities to significantly increase their efforts to protect vulnerable communities, and to mount a sustained campaign against armed non-state actors across the country until Nigeria is secure,” Mr. Mervyn says. 

He further urges the international community to intervene “by applying pressure on the Nigerian authorities to take effective action, holding them to account if they fail to do so, and providing support in every way necessary.”    

In August, the leadership of CSW described Nigeria’s situation as a thorny issue that must be confronted and addressed as a matter of urgency.

“The unprecedented levels of violence and criminality are taking an enormous toll on Nigerian citizens. They deserve far better,” Mr. Mervyn said.

He continued, “We therefore reiterate our call for international pressure to be brought to bear on the Nigerian authorities to galvanize them into securing the nation and ensuring protection for all citizens, regardless of creed or ethnicity.”

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