Rev. Dr. Theophilus Chukwu Ngele


There are just over 98 million Christians in Nigeria – that is almost half of the country of about 211.5 million populations. The persecution facing Christians in Nigeria is extreme and often brutally violent, as Islamic militants and armed bandits attack with increasing impunity. This mostly affects believers living in the Muslim-majority north and Christian majority Middle Belt, but it’s also spreading to the south. Although all civilians are subject to threats and violence, Christians are often specifically targeted because of their faith. Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), for example, wants to eliminate the presence of Christianity in Nigeria. Men and boys are often specifically targeted by extremist groups, with the aim of destroying livelihoods and stifling Christian population growth. Christian women and girls in northern Nigeria, and increasingly further south, is vulnerable to persecution for their faith and gender. Also, discrimination against Christian men has also been reported within the government armed forces, with Christian soldiers believed to be constantly sent to the most dangerous areas where they are acutely at risk of being killed by Boko Haram or other extremist groups. In northern states that operate under Sharia (Islamic law), Christians can be treated as second-class citizens, whilst Christians who convert from Islam are also at risk of pressure and persecution.  It is this menace that this paper seeks to investigate into (its reality) and portray the responses to Nigerian persecution of Christians.

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