The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has warned of genocide in the country if the federal government fails to arrest the growing extremism, especially in the north.
Yesterday during a virtual hearing on the escalation of the Violence by non-state actors in Nigeria and its potential to exacerbate worsening conditions of religious freedom, USCIRF said it would press for a special envoy to be dispatched to brief the current government on the ongoing murders in the northeast and lake region of Chad.
The panel noted that insecurity was widening in the country and that there were daily violent attacks on civilians and security forces.
“In the complex web of armed actors and motivations extremists in different parts of the Landes target individuals and communities because of their religious identity. Christian and Muslim communities fear for their lives and risk death, mutilation and kidnapping if they publicly worship and celebrate major religious ceremonies.
“Amid this shocking level of violence, government inaction is ubiquitous. Impunity for extremists targeting religious communities and places of worship is systemic in much of the country. The Federal Government’s approach has failed to curb violence and protect the rights of its citizens to freedom of religion and belief. As a body, we will encourage the US government to support Nigeria in its fight against impunity for extremist violence, ”said Anurima Bhargava, USCIRF Chair, yesterday.
Panelists at the virtual hearing included the former US representative Frank Wolf; Vice President, Global Affairs and Partnerships, Search for Common Ground, Mike Jobbins; Founder, Choice for Peace, Gender and Development, Hafsat Maina Muhammed; Catholic priest; Section Head, Religious Studies, Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State, Anthony Bature; and Analyst at African Affairs, Congressional Research Service, Tomás Husted.
Panellists said they were concerned that the rest of the world was turning a blind eye to the increasing uncertainty in Nigeria.
Wolf said: “Nigeria is failing and the West is paying little attention to the crisis. History repeats itself like in Rwanda. If what is happening in Nigeria happens in the West, the world would be angry, but there is silence and inaction, which could prove fatal for the West African region and the rest of the world. ”