Watch dogs are shedding light on the increase of religious persecution in Nigeria. Mass genocide of Christians by Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen have increased, especially within the past year. So far, in 2020 alone, over 400+ Nigerians have been killed at the hands of extremists. When will “Enough” be “Enough”? Will the world remain silent regarding Nigeria, like they did during the Mt. Sinjar Massacre in 2014? ISIS brutally slaughtered Yazidi men and kidnapped Yazidi women and children. The world said, “Never Again” will they remain silent. Yet, here we are, a genocide in Nigeria and the International Community remains silent. Why?
The increase of religious persecution in Nigeria should have the United States Government’s attention, as it poses a threat to our national security. How is it a threat to our national security? The rise of extremism and the silence by the Nigerian President. President Buhari refrains from addressing and dealing with Boko Haram. The extremist organization has become emboldened and more aggressive as of late. Could this be due to corruption? Does President Buhari condone the actions by Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen?
Extremism In Nigeria
Nigeria is infiltrated and surrounded by terrorists. According to Global Terrorist Index, Boko Haram is considered to be, “one of the top four deadliest terrorist organizations.” In the Borno State (northern part of Nigeria), members of Boko Haram have plead allegiance to the Islamic State. The Fulani Herdsmen slaughter Christians in the most barbaric ways. In addition, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria is supported by Iran (financial support unknown) to create a Revolution in Nigeria, like that of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979. President Buhari condemned and banned IMN in 2019; however, IMN could still pose a threat as they push Iranian propaganda. In nearby countries, Al-Qaeda has a presence as well. This region is a hot bed for terrorism.
As extremism continues to increase within Nigeria, a concern should be the influence that Russia, China, and Iran have; not only in Nigeria, but within several nations throughout Africa. There appears to be a ‘coalition’ forming by Russia, China, and Iran. Iran is progressing their Islamic ideology in destabilized countries, while China boosts the economy through trade and Russia boosts foreign military assistance through arms sales and providing military/security training. All three countries have targeted conflicted, destabilized, weakened nations to further their agenda and to establish a stronghold against the West.
Iranian Influence In Nigeria
Iran is considered to be the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, as they continue to send hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorist organizations, including proxies. According to the United States Department of State, “Iran spends nearly a billion dollars a year to support terrorism.” One of the terrorist organizations Iran funds is Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is reported that Hezbollah provides ideological and military training to Shiite Nigerians in Lebanon. Iran tasked Hezbollah to recruit and train Nigerians, in order for Iran to gain a stronghold and establish an operational base on the continent of Africa. The purpose of the stronghold in Africa, is to counteract any Israeli and Western influences within the region. In addition, Iran has perpetuated its stronghold in Nigeria through Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), as the movement is an extension of Iran’s foreign policy.
While the increase of extreme Islamic ideology is disconcerting, it is alarming the Chinese and Russian influences there as well. Countries such as Sudan, Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkinu Faso, and Mauritania, have asked Russia to help them combat terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Russia is seeking a more strategic approach by implementing bases in Libya, Eritrea, and Sudan. Ironically, the countries Russia seeks to implement their bases, has a preexisting Iranian presence. In addition, Russia is seeking new economic markets and energy resources, as they invest in oil and gas in countries such as: Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Libya, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Nigeria. The foothold Russia and China have gained in Africa, should have the United States Government’s attention.
What Can We Do?
Nigeria is a destabilized country that is a hotbed for terrorism. It is unfortunate for the Nigerians to have a president who will not counter terrorism in his own country or stop mass genocide of Christians. Not only is religious persecution occurring, but so is human trafficking. Despite the circumstance, we cannot let this stop us from being a voice to protect the persecuted.
Therefore, what can we do to help facilitate change?
- PRAY for Nigerians in country that God will protct them and keep them safe. Lets pray that President Buhari will do what is right and stop the mass genocide in Nigeria, while countering terrorism.
- BRING awareness to religious persecution in Nigeria via social media. No one, regardless of religion, should be persecuted for their faith. Freedom to worship is a universal human right. To stop darkness, we must shine light.
- BECOME informed on religious persecution overseas by following @FreedomsFundUSA on social media, to stay engaged.
- WRITE to your United States Representative, especially those who sit on the African Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill. Encourage them to stop the mass genocide in Nigeria.
Justice must be served and it’s time for us to stand for religious freedom. These may be small steps now; however, small steps can lead to huge strides. Together, lets seek truth continually and defend freedom.