This article was first published by Gatestone Institute. Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Muhammadu Buhari, the Muslim president of Nigeria—who reached that position in part thanks to Barack H. Obama—continues to fuel the “genocide” of Christians in his nation, according to Nigerian Christian leaders.
Most recently, Father Valentine Obinna, a priest of the Aba diocese of Nigeria, attributed the ongoing slaughter of Christians to the planned “Islamization of Nigeria”:
People read the handwriting on the wall. It’s obvious. It’s underground. It’s trying to make the whole country a Muslim country. But they are trying to do that in a context with a strong presence of Christians, and that’s why it becomes very difficult for him [Buhari].
Nigeria is roughly half Muslim, half Christian. A 2011 ABC News report offers context on when and why Muslim anger reached a boiling point:
The current wave of [Muslim] riots was triggered by the Independent National Election Commission’s (INEC) announcement on Monday [April 18, 2011] that the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan [a Christian], won in the initial round of ballot counts. That there were riots in the largely Muslim inhabited northern states where the defeat of the Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari was intolerable, was unsurprising. Northerners [Muslims] felt they were entitled to the presidency for the declared winner, President Jonathan, [who] assumed leadership after the Muslim president, Umaru Yar’Adua died in office last year and radical groups in the north [Boko Haram] had seen his [Jonathan’s] ascent as a temporary matter to be corrected at this year’s election. Now they are angry despite experts and observers concurring that this is the fairest and most independent election in recent Nigerian history.
Between 2011 and 2015, Boko Haram—an Islamic jihadi group that committed ISIS type atrocities before ISIS came into being—terrorized and slaughtered thousands of Christians, particularly those living in the Muslim majority north. In 2015, Nigeria’s Muslims finally got what they want: a Muslim president in the person of Muhammadu Buhari. However, the violence only got worse, as the Muslim Fulani herdsmen—the ethnic tribe from which Buhari hails—joined and even surpassed Boko Haram in their slaughter of Christians.
Between June 2017 and June 2018 alone, Muslim Fulani slaughtered approximately 9,000 Christians and destroyed at least a thousand churches. (It took three times as long for the Fulani to kill a fraction (1,484) of Christians under Jonathan’s presidency.) In just the first six months of this year, 52 lethal terror attacks targeting Christian villages occurred. “Nearly every single day, I wake up with text messages from partners in Nigeria, such as this morning: ‘Herdsmen stab 49-year-old farmer to death in Ogan,’” human rights lawyer Ann Buwalda said last July.
Whenever the mainstream media touches on the violence wracking Nigeria, it reiterates what Barack Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, said following the bombing of a church that left nearly 40 Christian worshippers dead on Easter Sunday, 2012: “I want to take this opportunity to stress one key point and that is that religion is not driving extremist violence” in Nigeria.
However, as Sister Monica Chikwe recently explained, “It’s tough to tell Nigerian Christians this isn’t a religious conflict since what they see are Fulani fighters clad entirely in black, chanting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and screaming ‘Death to Christians.’”
Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria asks: “How can it be a [secular or economic] clash when one group [Muslims] is persistently attacking, killing, maiming, destroying, and the other group [Christians] is persistently being killed, maimed and their places of worship destroyed?”
In short, Christians are being targeted by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen because President Buhari and his Muslim cabinet “want to make sure the whole country becomes a Muslim country,” to quote Fr. Valentine Obinna.
As the following quotes make clear, Fr. Obinna is not alone in accusing Muhammadu Buhari of clandestinely fueling his Fulani clansmen’s jihad on Christians:
- “[T]he Muslim president [Buhari] has only awarded the murderers with impunity rather than justice and has staffed his government with Islamic officials, while doing essentially nothing to give the nation’s Christians, who make up half the population, due representation….. Hundreds of indigenous Numan Christians in Adamawa state were attacked and killed by jihadist Fulani herdsmen. When they tried to defend themselves the Buhari govt. sent in the Airforce to bomb hundreds of them and protect the Fulani aggressors. Is this fair? WORLD TAKE NOTE!”—former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, 2017 (caps in original; see here too).
- “Under President Buhari, the murderous Fulani herdsmen enjoyed unprecedented protection and favoritism… Rather than arrest and prosecute the Fulani herdsmen, security forces usually manned by Muslims from the North offer them protection as they unleash terror with impunity on the Nigerian people”—Rev. Musa Asake, the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, 2018.
- Buhari “is himself from the jihadists’ Fulani tribe, so what can you expect?”—Emmanuel Ogebe, Washington DC-based human rights lawyer, in conversation with Gatestone, 2018.
- “They want to strike Christians, and the government does nothing to stop them, because President Buhari is also of the Fulani ethnic group”—Bishop Matthew Ishaya Audu of Lafia, 2018.
- Buhari “is openly pursuing an anti-Christian agenda that has resulted in countless murders of Christians all over the nation and destruction of vulnerable Christian communities”—Bosun Emmanuel, the secretary of the National Christian Elders Forum, 2018.
While acknowledging President Buhari’s role, the National Christian Elders Forum has been more direct concerning the ultimate source of violence in Nigeria:
JIHAD has been launched in Nigeria by the Islamists of northern Nigeria led by the Fulani ethnic group. This Jihad is based on the Doctrine of Hate taught in Mosques and Islamic Madrasas in northern Nigeria as well as the supremacist ideology of the Fulani. Using both conventional (violent) Jihad, and stealth (civilization) Jihad, the Islamists of northern Nigeria seem determined to turn Nigeria into an Islamic Sultanate and replace Liberal Democracy with Sharia as the National Ideology. … We want a Nigeria, where citizens are treated equally before the law at all levels….
Although Christians were only recently the majority of Nigeria’s population, the ongoing genocide against them has caused their population to drop — to the point that Christianity in Nigeria is, according to the National Christian Elders Forum, “on the brink of extinction,” thanks to “the ascendancy of Sharia ideology in Nigeria rings the death toll for the Nigerian Church.”
Such is the current state of affairs: a jihad of genocidal proportions has been declared on the Christian population of Nigeria—and, according to Nigerian Christian leaders, spearheaded by that nation’s Muslim president and his fellow Fulani tribesmen—even as Western media and analysts present Nigeria’s problems as products of economics—or “inequality” and “poverty,” to quote Bill Clinton on the supposedly true source that is “fueling all this stuff.”