nigeria report

Escalating Sectarian Violence in Nigeria

Latest uploads: 

The reign of impunity in Nigeria is the scaffolding on which the persecution of Christians in Nigeria has been built, says Onyemaechi F. E. Ogbunwezeh. Read the interview here

- 2,400 Christians killed by jihadists in 2020, according to Intersociety. Read the report here



3 December 2020: Statement by Monsignor Obiora Ike "On the Truth of the Matter Concerning Persecution of Christians by Fundamentalist Muslims and Groups Using Islam as a Platform"  

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)

Mourners at the funeral of a Nigerian pastor
Female mourners at the funeral of a pastor killed by Fulani militants. photo: @Intersociety
The funeral of a Christian pastor in Kaduna
Mourners at the grave side of a pastor killed by Fulani militants in Buda, Kaduna in September 2020. photo: @Intersociety

Latest developments

Nigeria: No peace at Christmas as Islamist violence continues


At the start of 2021, Nigeria is looking back on another year of religious conflict that cost an estimated 2,400 Christians their life. In the last two weeks of the year alone, around 200 Christians died at the hands of Islamists.



In a genocidal attack on Christmas Eve, Boko Haram militants raided the mostly Christian village of Pemi in the northeast of the country, burning down a church. According to media reports, at least 11 people were killed.


Also on 24 December, terrorists belonging to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terror group launched an attack on the northeastern town of Garkida, killing six Christians and kidnapping 11 others.


A chilling video issued by ISWAP a few days later showed the military-style execution of five men, believed to have been from the group of those abducted at Christmas. Dressed in orange jumpsuits and with their hands tied behind their backs, the men state their names and add, “I am a Christian” before being shot.


The Nigerian NGO Intersociety estimates that 2,400 Christians were killed by militant Islamists in 2020, with 200 losing their lives in the last two weeks of the year as terrorists stepped up their attacks on Christians, their churches and their properties. Militant Fulani herdsmen were particularly active in central Nigeria, where a spike in attacks resulted in the deaths of no fewer than 60 Christians.


Recent violence

Some of the worst incidents reported by local media:

  • 29/12/2020: ISWAP kills 5 Christians taken hostage on Christmas Eve
  • 24/12/2020: At least 10 killed in Boko Haram attacks in Borno State
  • 28/11/2020: Boko Haram slaughters more than 40 farmers in Borno State
  • 12/10/2020: Boko Haram kills 14 farmers in Borno State
  • 10/09/2020: 20 abducted following shoot-out in Abuja suburb
  • 06/09/2020: Bandits kill three, kidnap seven in southern Kaduna
  • 06/08/2020: 33 feared killed in Kaduna State attacks
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.


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