Five million people gathered on the streets of Nigeria on February 2 to protest the beheading of Pastor Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram, and to denounce the government’s inaction to stop the persecution against Christians, reports Evangelical Focus.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) organized a three-day fast culminating with a peaceful rally, which took place in 28 out of 36 states. Marchers brought posters which read: “Nigerian Christians are under attack. Buhari acts now,” and “Our values and way of life will prevail, the killings will not.”
Though we have protested before, this event took a new dimension. —Samson Ayokunle, President, Christian Association of Nigeria
CAN president Samson Ayokunle said, “Though we have protested before, this event took a new dimension.” He hoped that the large number of people who joined the march would prompt the government to act upon the murders and terror acts against Christians.
There have been more than 100 deaths in January due to the fighting between Fulani herdsmen and Christian farmers. Pastor Andimi was kidnapped on January 2 and killed on January 20.
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) also denounced the violence against Christians in Nigeria. In a statement, Secretary General Ephraim Tendero said, “We urge President Buhari and the Nigerian government to put an end to these attacks, to decisively combat the prevailing impunity for killings, and to ensure institutional accountability.”
In December 2019, the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap), a Boko Haram group, released a video showing the beheading of 11 male Christians. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the murders and urged citizens to remain united despite religious differences, reports BBC.
“‘We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims because these barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world,” Buhari said.
Christian anti-persecution charity, Open Doors, ranked Nigeria in the 12th spot in its World Watch List. Persecution level is “Very high” that violence against Christians results in death, injury and loss of property. Christians tried to hide their faith by dressing up as Muslims just to get a job and for the young ones to receive an education.
Christians in Nigeria and several Christian groups have called for help amid the intense persecution against believers in the African country.