The notion that Nigeria is a well-intentioned but under-resourced country struggling to contain sectarian violence is woefully incomplete. The Nigerian government may be under-resourced, but it is not blameless in the matter of sectarian violence. Indeed, though government forces have fought to quell sectarian violence in some instances, in other cases, it has at least exacerbated the problem if not created it in the first place.
This report considers ways that Nigerian state governments contribute to discrimination and violence against Christians. In particular, twelve northern states have adopted Sharia criminal law, leading to problems for Christians in the region and impacting their ability to participate as equal members of society.
In addition to being unconstitutional, the use of Sharia to adjudicate criminal matters has done significant real-world harm. This report considers eight specific instances where a departure from secularism has harmed Christians in northern Nigeria.
Finally, ICC makes three policy recommendations to the U.S. government—first, the establishment of an official stance against non-secularism in northern Nigeria; second, a reworking of aid delivery, which the government distributes in a way that disadvantages Christians; and third, the appointment of a Special Envoy to address issues in the region.