Over 700 Christians Killed as “farewell gifts” to Nigeria’s Former President: Report

Families bury their loved ones after mass murders and civilian house burnings in Nigeria's Imo State. Credit: Intersociety

Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria reportedly murdered “not less than 700 defenseless Christians” during the month of May this year, an investigative report indicates, and claims that the Christians lost their lives as “farewell gifts” to Muhammadu Buhari, the predecessor of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigeria’s new President who was sworn in on May 29.

In the Monday, June 12 International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) report issued with the title, “Farewell Gifts To Buhari, Ors: 700 Christians Slaughtered In May, 1,100 In 60 Days And 2,150 In 160 Days Of 2023”, the authors also rank the killings by Nigerian States.

The authors of the Intersociety report say, “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).”

“Plateau State donated 350 Christian lives, Benue 190, Kaduna 100, Nasarawa 62, Niger 50, Taraba 40, Borno/Yobe 40,” the report of the research and investigative rights group, which has been monitoring and investigating religious persecution and other forms of religious violence by State and non-State actors across Nigeria since 2010, indicates.

According to the report by the human rights group that does research and investigation by direct contacts with victims and eyewitnesses, “not less than 300 Christians were slaughtered in Plateau State (Mangu county, etc.) between 15th and 17th May 2023 alone.”


“The second worst hit State is Benue where not less than 110 Christians were slaughtered in May 2023 including over 40 slaughtered between 3rd and 4th June 2023 and 18 defenseless Christians hacked to death on 21st May 2023 and 28 others slaughtered between 7th and 10th May 2023,” the report released on June 12 indicates.  

The authors of the report further say, “In all, Benue State accounted for over 190 Christian deaths between 12th April and 12th June 2023.”

They report that “the third worst hit State is Kaduna where not less than 100 Christians were slaughtered between 12th April and 12th June 2023.”

“The out-gone Government of Kaduna State backed killing of Christians as farewell gifts had included slaughtering of 33 Christians by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen on 15th April 2023 in Runji village in Atyap, Zango Kataf LGA of Kaduna State, during which 42 houses were burned down or destroyed,” the authors of the report further say.

They also report that “between March and April 2023, not less than 68 Christians were slaughtered in Atyap Land alone; with less than 10 Christian school children abducted on 4th April from Government Secondary School Avon in Kachia LGA of Kaduna State and taken into Jihadists’ captivity.”

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In the June 2023 investigation, Intersociety researchers say they found that “not less than 245 Southern Kaduna communities have been sacked and violently occupied by Fulani Terror Jihadists in six years (2017-2023).”

“In Nasarawa State, no fewer than 38 Christian residents of Takalafia and Gwanja communities in the Karu Local Government Area of the State were hacked to death by terror herdsmen who stormed the area on Thursday night (14th May 2023),” the Intersociety researchers say in the report that was signed by their Board Chair & Lead-Researcher, Emeka Umeagbalasi.

Their investigations also established that “not less than 1,100 defenseless Christians were hacked to death by Nigerian Government backed Islamic Jihadists in the past 60 days or between 12th April and 12th June 2023; translating to a daily average of 17 Christian deaths.”

They further report that “the period under review also represents one of the bloodiest in anti-Christian attacks in Nigeria.”

“There are also 200 deaths representing dark figures of crimes including over 80 Christian deaths omitted in places like Kaduna State, covering 1st January to 10th April 2023 and 10% (70 deaths) of the 700 abductees representing those abducted who are incapable of returning to their families alive,” the authors of the report further say.


The entity that is comprised of human rights researchers further reports that “in two months gone by, not less than 700 Christians were abducted in Kaduna, Niger, Borno, Taraba, Yobe, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Edo, Osun, Kwara, Kogi, FCT, Ondo, Delta, Enugu, Anambra and Abia States.”

The researchers of the human rights group further report, “In the 1,100 defenseless Christian deaths, Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for not less than 800 killings.” 

“In all, therefore, it has been investigated and found that a total of not less than 2,150 defenseless Christians have been slaughtered by non-state actor/Nigerian Government backed Islamic Jihadists in the past 160 days or 1st Jan to 12th June 2023,” the report indicates.  

The researchers further report, “Over 1,400 others were abducted; out of which 10% or 140 may be incapable of returning to their families alive. Kaduna State tops the list of the abducted with at least 700, followed by Niger State with 300.”

They note that the Buhari-led Government “protected Jihadists and its Jihad enabler security forces have sacked 1000 Christian communities since 2016 and aided and abetted their takeover and occupation by the Jihadists; out of which, Benue State lost 400 Christian communities, Kaduna 245, Plateau 200, Taraba 100 and South-East 60.”

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The report also indicates that “not less than 100 churches have been razed or burned down or destroyed by Islamic Jihadists in the past sixty days or between 12th April and 12th June 2023; out of which Plateau State lost not less than 28 churches.”

“Not less than 20 Christian pastors were abducted or murdered by marauding Nigerian Government protected Islamic Jihadists between 12th April and 12th June 2023,” the authors of the June 12 Intersociety report have said.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.