Rising Persecution In Nigeria: Increasing Abductions Of Christians And Priests

Nigeria, already known as the deadliest country in the world for Christians due to Islamic jihad, is seeing an alarming rise in persecution. This year alone, ten priests and numerous laypeople have been kidnapped, reflecting a growing crisis.

The situation in Nigeria, where over 60,000 Christians have been murdered and millions displaced in a decade-long genocide, is dire. The Australian Catholic Weekly reports that since 2019, more than 17,000 Nigerians have been abducted, with Christians comprising the majority of victims. These kidnappings are often driven by ransom demands or religious fanaticism, making Nigeria the 6th worst country for religious persecution according to the 2024 World Watch List.

Open Doors, an organization monitoring global religious persecution, notes that more Christians are killed in Nigeria annually than in the rest of the world combined. Last year, Pope Francis highlighted the murder of a Nigerian priest, drawing attention to the plight of Christians facing armed bandits and radical Islamic groups in northern and central Nigeria.

Despite this, the genocide of Nigerian Christians receives minimal media coverage in the West, and when acknowledged, the role of Islamic terrorism is often downplayed. This reluctance to address the religious motivations behind the violence may be influenced by political considerations, as evidenced by the Biden administration’s removal of Nigeria from the list of countries of particular concern for religious freedom violations.

Historically, Islam has spread through violence and intimidation since the 7th century. Jihad Watch cites Al-Mawardi’s “The Laws of Islamic Governance,” which outlines the treatment of captives in Islamic warfare, including execution, enslavement, ransom, or pardon.