Nigeria Needs to Address Violence in a “far more proactive” Manner: Christian Entity

Credit: CSW

There is need for the government of Nigeria to address the violence in the country in a “far more proactive” manner, including holding those behind the attacks to account, the UK-based human rights foundation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), has said.

In a Tuesday, June 21 report, CSW Founder President faults authorities at State and Federal levels in the West African nation for lacking the urgency in making and enacting effective responses which need to “prioritize the protection of vulnerable citizens, including religious leaders and congregations.”

“We appeal to the Nigerian government to become far more proactive in addressing this violence, holding those responsible to account, and ensuring that the armed forces are sufficiently resourced to combat the threats posed by these and other armed non-state actors,” Mervyn Thomas is quoted as saying. 

Mr. Mervyn adds, “The international community must also become far more proactive in ensuring that the Nigerian authorities receive sufficient assistance to bring an end to this horrific violence by non-state actors who pose an existential threat to this strategically important nation.”

He goes on to appeal to the international community to hold the federal government of Nigeria “to account wherever and whenever it fails to protect all of its citizens equally and effectively.”


The CSW Founder President regrets the fact that every week, innocent Nigerians lose their lives “in terror attacks targeting houses of worship, homes and transportation, with many more either injured or abducted and extorted.” 

Amid the regular attacks, Mr. Mervyn says, both State and Federal authorities continue to illustrate a lack of urgency in “formulating and enacting coordinated and effective responses which prioritize the protection of vulnerable citizens, including religious leaders and congregations.” 

In the report, CSW officials highlight the June 19 attacks on St. Moses Catholic Church and Maranatha Baptist Church in Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA) of Nigeria’s Kaduna State that resulted in the killing of three, and the kidnapping of 36 others.   

They make reference to the Pentecost Sunday attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese, and say the June 19 attack on two churches was the second to occur in a fortnight.

In the June 21 report, officials of the human rights entity bemoan the fact that members of the Clergy, churches, and their congregations have become the target of the attacks. 

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“On 17 June the Catholic Diocese of Ondo conducted a mass burial for 32 victims of the 5 June terrorist attack on St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, southwest Nigeria,” they say referencing to the Pentecost Sunday attack. 

Days before the attack on St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, CSW officials say gunmen reportedly attacked the Celestial Church of Christ, Oshofa Parish in Ogun State. 

CSW officials go on to highlight the abductions of Fr. Christopher Itopa Onotu, Fr. Stephen Ojapa who belongs to the Missionary Society of Saint Paul of Nigeria, Fr. Oliver Okpara and the late Fr. Joseph Aketeh Bako who died in captivity.

In the report, the CSW Founder President expresses solidarity with all who have been affected by the attacks, and implores, “Once again our prayers are with all whose loved ones were killed or kidnapped in these latest attacks.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.