Hearing Their Cries in Nigeria

By Nathan Johnson

09/11/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – COVID-19 has affected all of us in different ways. For some, it has stolen the lives of loved ones. For others, it has cost jobs and security, making it impossible to provide for families. Persecution has only compounded these issues for many Christians around the world.

In Nigeria, attacks by Fulani militants have caused massive pain and suffering for Christians before COVID-19 hit.

This is especially true for 25 families in Hukke village of Plateau State, Nigeria.

On April 2, 2020, Fulani militants sur­rounded Hukke in the early morning. They went house by house, burning down homes in the village. At least seven elderly Christians were tragically burned to death because they couldn’t escape their burning huts quickly enough. The Fulani militants left 25 families homeless and without clothing to wear or food to eat. The families escaped with only the clothes on their backs.

Looking the Other Way

The Nigerian government continues to turn a blind eye to the needs of its Christian popu­lation in the Middle Belt region, even during this time of need and pandemic. At the time of writing, Nigeria remains in a state of lock­down, as one of the worst countries in Africa for the coronavirus.

In July, ICC released a report detailing the attacks on Christians in Nigeria in the second quarter of 2020, looking closely at how the impact of the coronavirus has resulted in the disruption of Nigeria’s Christian communities. The report says:

The situation in Nigeria during the second quarter of 2020 was greatly complicated by the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the most violent areas stayed in near constant lockdown during this period, causing massive strain on the financial and physical welfare of the people. Fulani mili­tants and Boko Haram were able to conduct many attacks against citizens who were fol­lowing governmental orders by staying at home. These orders ultimately proved fatal for many innocent Christians who were attacked while locked in their own homes.

This quarter was even more violent and deadly than the first quarter of 2020. During the first quarter, ICC tracked at least 766 casualties from 200 violent militant inci­dents. The second quarter, however, saw many more than this with 1,501 casual­ties from 291 violent militant incidents, claiming the lives of militants, government forces, and civilians.

We Heard Their Cries

Tragically, the government has put forth no effort to assist the Hukke village survivors; they haven’t received any aid and have been unable to provide for themselves or get back on their feet. They have no homes, food, clothes, or jobs. They only have what they were wearing the night of the attack and what friends and family could afford to give them.

One leader in Kaduna State, Reverend Hayab, told ICC, “The government seems to be living in pretense and looking away from the colossal impact of the attacks on the population.”

But ICC’s staff on the ground heard their cries. At such a perilous time in the lives of these struggling families, we were able to step in to provide supplies like clothing and food in their time of need. Left at the mercy of the apathetic Nigerian government, these Christians were so grateful that Christians all the way across the ocean heard their cries for help.

Reverend Akus Odo of Hukke village said, “I am so happy; this is the first time we are receiving such help since the attacks. We thank you so much for the relief materials.”

Another recipient of aid, Moses Mada said, “I am so grateful to God for the support from ICC. [I pray that] God will bless you as you continue with your good work. This chance for living that you gave me and my children will forever be remembered and I promise to work hard and get back on my feet.”

Our aid won’t solve all the problems that these families face, but it will help them through this period of pain and suffering. Please continue to pray for the lives of these families to stabilize and for them to remain safe from the pandemic.

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