Thousands of Christians are being butchered in Nigeria and whole villages being destroyed. Why are we so unconcerned? Why don't we care? I believe the biggest reason is that we simply don't know about what's happening there. Well, now you know. Here are the facts.
For the last several months, one of my good friends, a Christian missionary serving the poorest of the poor in Nigeria, has been sending me emails with terrifying news. Fulani tribesmen raping and killing villagers. Children being used as Islamic suicide bombers, resulting in scores of casualties. One horrible report after another.
Yet with each email I received, as I scoured the major news agencies in the West, I found nothing reported. Not a word.
At the same time, Nigerian news sources were ablaze with reports of the latest atrocities.
Today, I saw this shocking headline on Jihad Watch: "Nigeria: Muslims wipe out 15 villages in mass slaughter of Christians, government does nothing."
The article began with this quote, "Despite several calls to the governor and his deputy, and other security apparatus, the government remained silent as the atrocities continued. The Fulani were able to carry out their deadly attack. They stayed for hours in the vicinity, moving at will, unchallenged."
How could this be? According to Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch, it's because "Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari clearly has no sympathy for the victims. He shares the world view of the jihadi attackers."
When I emailed my friend in Nigeria to ask if this were true, she wrote back immediately:
This article doesn't state which villages, so I am not sure. It is happening every day. The worst this year was the New Year's Day massacre, followed by a mass burial of 73 victims. There have been many attacks since then. Villages razed, girls and women raped, men butchered. Cutlasses have been replaced by AK-47s. The military has, at times, seemed complicit.
The president only gets upset when there are reprisal killings of Fulani. He himself is a Fulani man and a cattle-rearer. The stated reason is grazing rights. If you object to cows eating your crops, you, your village and maybe surrounding ones will be attacked. It is in every paper, every day. The nation is smoldering. Only Jesus. (Her closing sentence meant, "Jesus is our nation's only hope.")
She also sent me this YouTube link, viewed over 180,000 times at present, in which a Nigerian social commentator who lives in the States blasts the president's alleged inaction (and, worse still, alleged wrong actions).
The video begins with a clip from a pastor, boldly denouncing wickedness in the government and stating plainly that, "The killing, the killing that is going on in Nigeria shows the irresponsibility of the president called Buhari."
And the pastor urged every Nigerian to fight back, not with weapons but by getting their voter's cards, urging the people not to let wicked men in government to decide their fate. Yes, he bellowed, "Enough is enough!"
As a result of his sermon, we are informed that a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Outrageous? Absolutely. But Nigeria is a nation divided, with a Muslim majority in the north and a Christian majority in the south, with terrorist groups like Boko Haram still on the prowl, and with systemic governmental corruption.
And as Christianity continues to spread across the nation at an exponential pace, so also persecution is spreading. As reported by Christian Today in 2016, "Muslims are converting to Christianity in northern Nigeria amid rapidly rising levels of Christian persecution, which has seen more than 10,000 Christians killed in five years, according to a new report released today.
"While much media attention has been focused on Islamic State and the plight of persecuted minorities in the Middle East, 11,500 Christians in northern Nigeria were killed in five years between 2006-2014, and 13,000 churches were destroyed, forcing 1.3 million Christians to flee to safer areas of the country."
As devastating as these statistics are, they are more likely under-reported than over-reported, which again begs the question: Why don't we care? Why aren't we raising our voices? Why aren't we standing with our fellow believers in prayer?
Again, I believe it is largely because of our ignorance.
But if you've read this article, you can't claim ignorance any more. And the first thing you can do to help combat these atrocities is share this article with your friends. Let's get educated, let's get praying, and let's get the word out to the rest of the world until the Nigerian government does what is right – or is replaced by leaders who will.