The International Christian Concern (ICC) 2023 report places Nigeria among countries with high levels of Christian persecution, despite lacking the ‘Country of Particular Concern’ designation by the U.S. Department of State.
The report paints a disturbing picture of the challenges that Christians in Nigeria face, suggesting that it might be one of the most dangerous places for Christians globally.
According to the report, “Nigeria is arguably the most dangerous place to be a Christian in the world today.”
The ICC report outlines a total of 55 attacks in Nigeria, resulting in the tragic loss of 549 Christian lives over a four-month period from March to July.
It also highlights specific incidents, such as the burning of a Catholic seminary and the killing of a seminarian in Kaduna State, as well as the mass killing of over 20 people in a village in Plateau State by radical militants in August.
A significant part of this persecution is attributed to terrorist groups like Boko Haram, which has been responsible for more than 38,000 deaths over the past 12 years, and the enforcement of Sharia law in 12 northern Nigerian states.
The report unequivocally states, “Whether the world acknowledges the plight of Nigerian Christians or not, the country has become a burial ground for Christians.”
Apart from Nigeria, the ICC’s report identifies nine other countries as oppressive towards Christians. These nations include North Korea, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, Eritrea, Algeria, Indonesia, and Azerbaijan.
The report highlights patterns of religious suppression, forced labour, violence, and severe legal restrictions within these countries.
The ICC report also singles out six entities, including the Allied Democratic Forces and Al-Shabab, as some of the most significant oppressors of religious freedom and minority rights.
Moreover, the report identifies five individual actors, such as Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Xi Jinping of China, as some of the worst perpetrators of religious persecution on a global scale.
Despite the grave conditions depicted in the report, Nigeria has not yet received the ‘Country of Particular Concern’ designation from the U.S. Department of State.
The report emphasizes the urgent need for international attention and action to address the widespread persecution of Christians not only in Nigeria but also in the other nations mentioned.
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“Nigeria is a country torn by violence. From large, organized terror groups to small, disconnected communal militias, the violence in Nigeria is endemic,” the report concluded.
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