Date:  February 17, 2024


Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Civil society organizations in Nigeria have sounded the alarm on the escalating violence plaguing the nation, particularly the Middle Belt region, where countless lives have been lost to mass atrocities. The organizations represented at the February 14 gathering included the Civil Society Joint Action Group, Community of Practice Against Mass Atrocities, and Nigeria Mourns.

“At least 2,423 people have been killed in mass atrocity-related incidents, while about 1,872 persons have been abducted between May 2023 when President Tinubu assumed office and January 26 this year,” said a spokesperson for one of the organizations represented.

ICC’s reports show that Christians are killed weekly by Islamic terrorist groups like the Fulani militants and Boko Haram. Christian farming communities in Benue, Plateau, and Southern Kaduna – collectively known as the Middle Belt – are often victims of these attacks.

Amid divergent interpretations, Amnesty International Nigeria suggests that climate change exacerbates tensions, while the Federal Government and Nigeria Security refer to the conflict as a “herders/farmers clash.” However, Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang has labeled the situation a “genocide,” particularly poignant after more than 200 people were killed in Plateau state on Christmas Eve.

On Valentine’s Day, Project Victory Call Initiative (PVC) Naija organized a procession titled “One Love Nigeria,” aimed at voicing the collective discontent of Lagos state residents and Nigerians as a whole against the ongoing mass killings in the Middle Belt.

Dr. Bolaji O. Akinyemi, Chairman of the Board of Trustee PVC Naija and the convener of Apostolic Round Table, said the procession was to bolster the importance of life and in support of Christians in the Middle Belt region and highlight the injustices.

Akinyemi said, “I am doing this because my life is essential to me; I love my life. A general saying says injustice to one is an injustice to all. If I don’t care about this, then it is going to be my turn, and we have seen time and time again how it has become the turn of communities that were not directly involved when these killings started, but they kept moving and advancing.”

He said residents of Lagos must rise to give help to the people of the middle so that they can live in their homes peacefully.

“You can see the migration of people from up north into Lagos. If they want the migration to stop, then Lagos should rise to give help to people who are moving down to Lagos because they are not safe so that their region can be safe so that every one of them can at least feel at home in peace where God has given to them,” he added.

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for greater awareness surrounding the violence in this region. Pray for greater security measures for Christians in Nigeria. Pray for peace for the many who have lost loved ones in this violence.