Nigeria and 2 Catholic priests killed: Biden’s indifference

Nigeria and 2 Catholic priests killed: Biden’s indifference 

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

The nation of Nigeria is extremely dangerous for Christians in several parts of the country. Still reeling from the recent Islamist attack against St Francis Catholic Church in southwest Nigeria that left at least 40 Christians dead: news is emerging of two Catholic priests being killed in two separate attacks. 

Vatican News reports, “The Catholic Dioceses of Auchi and Kaduna mourn the deaths of Fr. Christopher Odia and Fr. Vitus Borogo, who were killed in the Nigerian states of Edo and Kaduna over the weekend.”

The massacre of Christians – and the killing of Christian Protestant pastors and Catholic priests – is nothing new. Yet, the menace of anti-Christian attacks in Nigeria is spreading to different parts of the country. Also, the various Islamist groups and wanton criminality – along with Fulani Muslim bloodletting of Christians – are growing in outreach and within groupings. 

The Western media and the Buhari government sometimes utilize the word “bandits.” Yet, Bello Turji loyalists share regional Islamist traits and despise Christianity. Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) are openly Islamists because they seek the imposition of Islamic Sharia law on all of society – irrespective of Christian, Muslim, traditional beliefs, or secular. While Fulani Muslim attacks against Christians are also embodied within religious and ethnic hatred – even if they don’t share the same modus operandi as Boko Haram and ISWAP. Therefore, the situation is critical for Christians in Nigeria. 

The Catholic Bishop Emmanuel Badejo said, “I call on President Buhari and our leaders in the federal government or state government to wake up, sit up and act up to secure lives and properties all over Nigeria.”

The Bishop continued, “How many more must die? Does life really have any value anymore with you?”

Since these wise words, the flow of Christian blood continues because the central government seems at a loss to tackle the plethora of problems that blight the country. 

The National Catholic Register reports, “More Christians are killed for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country worldwide — at least 4,650 in 2021, and nearly 900 in the first three months of 2022 alone.”

President Biden 

Astonishingly, President Biden, who lauds the rights of the LGBT and other areas of human rights, seems mute to the plight of Christians in Nigeria. The Catholic Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza (the Diocese of Yola) admonished the Biden administration for delisting Nigeria from nations of “particular concern” regarding religious freedom.

The Bishop said, “Since the United States has delisted Nigeria from countries of particular concern, what we would like to hear from the United States now is for them to explain to us, give us the data.”

He continued, “How is it that Nigeria is different from Nigeria of two years ago? Because we that are living in Nigeria – when it comes to discrimination, when it comes to persecution of Christians, we are still feeling it. And we are still experiencing it...”

The US State Department callously said, Secretary Blinken “determined that the state of religious freedom in Nigeria did not meet the legal threshold to justify Nigeria’s continued designation as a country of particular concern.”

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) rebuked the Biden administration. It said President Biden’s reversal was “unexplainable that the U.S. Department of State did not redesignate Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) and treated it as a country with no severe religious freedom violations.  In December 2020, the U.S. Department of State designated Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC)… due to systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. Violent attacks by Boko Haram and ethnoreligious conflict have become more frequent…”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) uttered, “You can’t give President Buhari a passing grade when he has utterly failed to protect religious freedom, including and especially that of Christians. A core principle of any robust democracy is respect for human rights, including religious freedom.”  

Bishop Badejo said, “there is nothing on the ground to suggest that Christians have an easier time practicing their faith in Nigeria today than they did one or two years ago.”

It seems that the Biden administration is following the indifference of the government of Nigeria under Buhari. Hence, the embattled Christians – especially in parts of the country where oppression is at the highest – have been abandoned at a time of daily persecution. 

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