Church leaders and charities are calling on the Nigerian government to provide additional protection for Christians in Nigeria over the festive period.
Director of Advocacy at Open Doors UK and Ireland, Dr David Landrum and Revd Ayo Adedoyin, Head of Communications at North London church Jesus House, have handed a letter with the request to the Nigerian High Commission in London.
The letter reads: “In light of the pattern of violent attacks in recent years, we [the undersigned] are together calling on the Nigerian government to provide additional security to protect vulnerable Churches and Christian communities over the Christmas period.”
Speaking to Premier, Revd Adedoyin highlighted that Nigeria has become an increasingly dangerous place for many Christians, in particular around Christmas where the threat of attack by Islamist militants is heightened.
“A couple of Christmases ago, we had people kidnapped and slaughtered around Christmas time. Unfortunately, the people who do these kinds of things for some reason choose the run up to these holy festivals to go on an even further rampage,” said Revd Adedoyin.
According to Revd Adedoyin, the attackers also kill Muslims who do not align ideologically with their religious viewpoint.
“Terrorists in parts of Nigeria who are particularly keen on instituting religious Islamic State with a certain extremist view of Islam will quite happily kill both Christians as well as Muslims who do not align with [their] extremist ideas,” said Revd Adedoyin.
According to the letter, following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, terrorist groups have become increasingly bold in their attacks and therefore it is critical that extra measures are taken by the Nigerian security forces to protect Christian communities.
“The very least the Nigerian government should do is to protect its own citizens,” said Dr David Landrum, one of the signatories to the letter.
Nigeria is ranked number 9 on Open Doors World Watch List, a ranking of 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution.