Nigeria and 2 Catholic priests killed: Biden’s indifference
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Time
The nation of Nigeria is extremely dangerous for Christians in several parts of the country. Still reeling from the recent Islamist attack on St Francis Catholic Church in southwestern Nigeria that left at least 40 Christians dead: news reports two Catholic priests killed in two separate attacks .
Vatican News reports, “The Catholic Dioceses of Auchi and Kaduna mourn the death of Fr. Christopher Odia and Fr. Vitus Borogo, who were killed in Nigeria’s Edo and Kaduna States over the weekend.
The slaughter of Christians – and the murder of Protestant Christian pastors and Catholic priests – is nothing new. Yet the threat of anti-Christian attacks in Nigeria is spreading to different parts of the country. In addition, the various Islamist groups and gratuitous crime – as well as the bloodshed of Fulani Muslims on Christians – are growing in scope and within the groupings.
Western media and the Buhari government sometimes use the word “bandits”. Yet Bello Turji worshipers share regional Islamist traits and despise Christianity. Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) are openly Islamist because they seek to impose Islamic Sharia on all of society – regardless of Christian, Muslim beliefs , traditional or secular. While Fulani Muslim attacks on Christians are also embodied in religious and ethnic hatred – even if they do not share the same modus operandi as Boko Haram and ISWAP. Therefore, the situation is critical for Christians in Nigeria.
Catholic Bishop Emmanuel Badejo said: “I call on President Buhari and our leaders in the federal government or state government to wake up, sit up and take action to secure lives and property across Nigeria.”
The bishop continued, “How many more have to die? Is life really worth more with you?
Since those wise words, the flow of Christian blood has continued as the central government seems unable to tackle the plethora of problems plaguing the country.
The National Catholic Register reports, “More Christians are being killed for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country in the world – at least 4,650 in 2021 and almost 900 in the first three months of 2022 alone.
Surprisingly, President Biden, who praises LGBT rights and other areas of human rights, seems silent on the plight of Christians in Nigeria. Catholic Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza (the diocese of Yola) chastised the Biden administration for removing Nigeria from the nations of “Special Concern” regarding religious freedom.
The bishop said, “Since the United States removed Nigeria from the list of countries of particular concern, what we would like to hear from the United States now is that they explain to us, give us the data.”
He continued, “How is Nigeria different from Nigeria two years ago? Because we who live in Nigeria – when it comes to discrimination, when it comes to persecution of Christians, we still feel it. And we still live it...”
The US State Department said harshly, Secretary Blinken “has determined that the state of religious freedom in Nigeria does not meet the legal threshold to warrant continued designation of Nigeria as a country of particular concern.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) chided the Biden administration. He said the overthrow of President Biden was “It is inexplicable that the US State Department has not redesignated Nigeria as a ‘Country of Special Concern’ (CPC) and treated it as a country with no serious religious freedom violations. In December 2020, the US Department of State designated Nigeria as a Country of Special Concern (CPC)…due to systematic, ongoing, and gross violations of religious freedom. Violent Boko Haram attacks and ethno-religious conflicts have become more frequent…”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said, “You cannot give President Buhari a passing grade when he has utterly failed to protect religious freedom, including and especially that of Christians. A fundamental principle of any strong democracy is respect for human rights, including religious freedom.
Bishop Badejo said, “There is nothing on the ground to suggest that Christians have an easier time practicing their faith in Nigeria today than they did a year or two ago.”
It appears that the Biden administration is following the indifference of the Nigerian government under Buhari. Consequently, beleaguered Christians – especially in areas of the country where oppression is highest – have been left behind in a time of daily persecution.
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