nigeria report

Escalating Sectarian Violence in Nigeria

Latest uploads: 

- Statement from Plateau State Christians in Politics Prayer Partners: "Our Leaders Take the Side of the Oppressors"

- Sociologist Nicole Koeck-Maier outlines the choices facing Nigeria as it stands at the crossroads. Read her commentary here

-  Journalist Amaka Okoye visits Chibok seven years after the mass kidnapping of schoolgirls that inspired the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Read her report here

September 2021: Insecurity and religious freedom in Nigeria


Udo Jude Ilo on how the failings of government have contributed to religious tensions in Nigeria.




Conflict in Nigeria

An increasingly bloody dispute over land use is exacerbating religious tensions in Nigeria, which is roughly equally divided between Christians and Muslims with a small percentage adhering to indigenous religions. Displacement and the effects of climate change are driving nomadic herdsmen, predominantly Muslim, southwards into largely Christian farming lands. Since 2016 Islamist inspired Fulani militias have stepped up their brutal attacks across swathes of central and southern Nigeria, laying waste to mainly Christian villages, killing the villagers or driving them from their ancestral homes. Meanwhile, the threat from the radical Islamist Boko Haram persists in the northeast where there are regular clashes with the military, and sporadic violence continues in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The growing conflict poses a threat to stability and unity in the Country. See the Context to conflict section for more Information.


Church in Nigeria

Dr. John Eibner

Introduction to Nigeria Report by Dr John Eibner, Chairman International Management CSI


Welcome to Nigeria Report, a project of Christian Solidarity International (CSI). This is an internet platform for informed discussion of the various aspects of sectarian violence in Nigeria, and for the presentation of policy recommendations aimed at ending it. CSI’s intention is to provide space especially for the perspectives of Nigerian civil society representatives, regardless of tribal or religious identity. Such voices are currently only faintly heard outside Nigeria.

Respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a foundational pillar of CSI. Conversation on this platform will be conducted in the spirit of that international instrument. The views expressed in the Commentaries section are those of individual authors and are not necessarily those of CSI.


Trouble hotspots


The northeast and Middle Belt of Nigeria are the areas where political and religious violence are concentrated.


In one of the worst incidents, at the end of June 2018 more than 200 people were killed in attacks by Fulani militias on mostly Christian villages in  Plateau State. Numerous houses were burned down and entire villages were destroyed. To read the stories of some of the victims of these and other attacks, see the  Victims' Stories section.


In an echo of the kidnapping of 276 female students from a school in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014, a faction of Boko Haram on 19 February 2018 abducted 110 schoolgirls from a boarding college in Dapchi, Yobe State. Five of the girls were killed and 104 were subsequently released. But the group, ISWAP, continues to hold one girl, Leah Sharibu, who refused to renounce her Christian faith. Two aid workers captured by the same faction in March were later killed. See the Background, Conflict - Issues and actors section for more information on Boko Haram and the Fulani.

Map of the conflict in Nigeria
Map showing states most prone to religious and ethnic conflict (@CSI)

Protests against Fulani attacks in Plateau State
Protestors marched to Government House (@ECCVN)

Latest developments


Plateau residents protest outside government as killings continue


Following an armed invasion by Fulani militants in which 36 houses were razed to the ground, thousands of residents of Plateau State took part in a peaceful rally outside the government building on 25 August.


According to the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims Nigeria (ECCVN), the crowds first processed to the House of Assembly where the speaker offered condolences and called for calm. From there they made their way through the streets of Jos to Plateau State Government House, where the bodies of those killed were laid out in front of the gates.


Protestors told ECCVN that at least 36 Christians of Yelwa Zangam in Afizere Chiefdom of Jos North local government area were killed by an armed group suspected to be a Fulani militia at about 10pm on 24 August.


“The heavily armed men came on motorcycles, four on each one… only the slain and those shot were evacuated to the mortuary, but the corpses of those burnt beyond recognition could not be taken,” a survivor reported.


Another eyewitness said the armed men had destroyed a bridge before the invasion, hampering the rescue operation. The attackers were able to flee before security forces arrived.


At Government House, where 15 corpses were lined up at the gate, protestors poured out their grief at the continued killings and accused the government of a “conspiracy of silence” as no official statement had been made.


In a bid to forestall protests, Plateau State government has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Jos North. Jos South and Bassa local government authorities were already under curfew.


Intersociety reported on 19 August that 2,259 Christian lives have been lost this year in Nigeria in violent attacks perpetrated by Fulani militants. 


Recent violence

Some of the worst incidents reported by local media:

  • 25/08/2021: 30 killed in attacks in Plateau State
  • 04/07/2021: Gunmen seize 140 schoolchildren in Kaduna State
  • 10/06/2021: Bandits kill 93 in Zamfara State attack
  • 27-28/05/2021: Herdsmen kill 56 in Benue and Taraba states
  • 24/04/2021: Suspected herdsmen kill 17 in Benue State attack
  • 19/03/2021: Bandits kill 13, injure 7 in Kaduna attacks
  • 02/02/2021: Bandits kill 27 in attacks on Niger communities
Protest to stop killings in Nigeria
Photo: @CSI

Christian Solidarity International (CSI)

CSI is a human rights organisation campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity. It is active throughout the world where religious minorities are persecuted. In Nigeria CSI delivers food and medical aid to victims and support to displaced families.


This website provides an overview of the conflict situation in Nigeria since 2018, which has affected so many lives. It offers space for victims to share their personal testimony and a platform for different views on the nature of the crisis and how it can be resolved. 


To support the work of CSI in Nigeria, visit the Donate page.


* indicates required

Christian Solidarity International (CSI) | Zelglistrasse 64, 8122 Binz (ZH), Switzerland

Tel. +41 44 982 3333 | Mail | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube