When 37 Christians were murdered on Tuesday night in Yelwan Zangam community, located just to the north of Plateau State’s capital city Jos, it was the latest example in a years-long trend of militant violence against largely helpless Christian communities in Nigeria.
The last month has been a deadly one for the area—seventy Christians were killed in a weekend-long series of attacks at the beginning of the month. Since then, attacks have killed dozens in both the local Christian and Muslim communities.
In a pattern that has repeated itself for years, the governor of Plateau State barely reacted to the killing of Christians early in the month but responded strongly when a group of Muslims was killed, even visiting victims in the hospital and promising to pay for their medical expenses.
A group of youth, tired of the governor’s seeming lack of care for attacks impacting Christian communities, brought corpses from the Tuesday attack in Yelwan and dropped them on the pavement in front of the State Assembly in a video review by ICC. Among the victims was a pregnant woman a young girl.
According to news outlets, the Plateau Assembly convened to discuss the issue, coming out of the session demanding that Simon Lalong, the governor, take action on the security-oriented legislation on his desk within two weeks. They also approved a resolution demanding that Lalong visit the affected villages, pay for victims’ medical expenses, and compensate those who lost property in the attack.
Though the financial side was emphasized, the protestors and legislators seemed to desire equal attention more than anything. “Just as the governor did for the [Muslims] killed on Rukuba road…[he] must come out and speak on the recent killings,” said the Speaker of the Assembly, Abok Ayuba.
Ayuba also urged the governor to speak to Muhammadu Buhari, the president of Nigeria, on the issue and promised to visit the capital city of Abuja to press the issue.
Nigeria has long suffered at the hands of violent militants, especially in its Middle Belt region where militants have killed tens of thousands and displaced millions. Over the years, the Nigerian government has proved utterly ineffective against the violence and, as in Plateau State over the last month, has come across as uncaring towards the Christian community, which bears the brunt of the violence. The international community should join the protestors and legislators in Plateau in pressuring the Nigerian government to take persecution seriously.
From the International Christian Concern here.