July 2021: Why Islam is different in Yorubaland and Hausaland
Columnist and academic Farooq Kperogi on why it's too simplistic to divide Nigeria into a "Muslim North" and a "Christian South".
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.
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.
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.
Mass protest against killings rocks Plateau State
Thousands of people, mainly women and children, gathered outside Riyom local government headquarters on 14 July to protest against continuing attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the area.
According to the Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria (ECCVN), the protest was triggered by an attack the previous day that left two local residents, Titus John (32) and Iliya Dalyop (50), dead and that characterises the ongoing insecurity in Plateau State, and Riyom in particular.
“In Byei, 30 people have been killed so far because of the Fulani,” spokesperson Garose Dauda told ECCVN. “They have destroyed farm crops. I don’t have food to give the children,” she lamented, adding that in her family all the men had been killed...
Some of the worst incidents reported by local media:
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.