A new report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urges lawmakers to take a closer look at Nigeria. Simultaneously, a second report analyzed by International Christian Concern found kidnappers target Christians ten times more often than Muslims.
According to USCIRF, militant Islamist groups are growing, and significant attacks have become even more frequent. Since “many of the core drivers of violence in Nigeria relate to poor governance,” religious freedom watchdogs recommend diplomatic action.
Militant Islamist groups, including Boko Haram, the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), and an al-Qaeda affiliate, seek to overthrow the Nigerian government. At the same time, Fulani herdsmen attacks are increasingly commonplace.
“We’ve been involved with Nigeria for many years, but a few months ago, we discovered a level of violence that we simply had not seen before,” President/CEO of Global Disciples Galen Burkholder says.
“There have been Fulani warriors coming into predominantly Christian villages and burning houses, killing people indiscriminately, then leaving the village destroyed with people strung across the street.”
Global Disciples partners with local believers to reach unreached people groups. More about that here. In Nigeria, “the Fulani people are one of the largest unreached, unengaged people groups,” Burkholder says.
Believers face extreme aggression as they seek to make Christ known in northern Nigeria. “There’s tremendous pressure [from] Islam wanting to dominate [the region], and the spread of the Body of Christ seems to aggravate those tensions,” Burkholder says.
Only the love of Christ can do something like this: “We recently had an all-night prayer meeting [with partners in Nigeria] focusing on unengaged, unreached people groups. Leaders who lost family members, friends, and coworkers were crying out to the Lord for mercy for the Fulani people,” Burkholder says.
“These Christian leaders cry out for their fellow countrymen who are destroying their villages.”
Now that you know ask the Lord how He wants you to respond. Use prompts alongside this article to pray for Nigerian Christians and the unreached Fulani people. Consider giving to help Global Disciples train church planters and disciple-makers.