A 2018 global report on persecution of Christians ranked Nigeria as the 14th among 50 countries where believers are facing hostility as a result of identification with Christ.
USA president Donald Trump has condemned the ongoing attacks on Christians in Nigeria and insisted that they cannot be allowed to continue.
This happened when he hosted Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at State House on Monday.
“We’ve had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem – because we can’t allow that to happen,” President Trump said.
Local and International media have on a daily reported about the frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen militia and farming communities in Nigeria’s vast Middle Belt region which happen in a tit-for-tat fashion; just last week, 19 parishioners including two priests were shot dead during early morning prayers in a village in Benue state.
Addressing reporters outside in the Rose Garden with Buhari, Trump reiterated his opposition to the persecution and terrorism.
“Finally, we are deeply concerned by religious violence in Nigeria, including the burning of churches and the killing and persecution of Christians. It’s a horrible story,” Trump said, according to Quartz.
“We encourage Nigeria and the federal state and local leaders to do everything in their power to immediately secure the affected communities and to protect innocent civilians of all faiths including Muslims and including Christians,” he added.
Trump’s statement was according to media sources, well-received by many Nigerian Christians who are already huge supporters of the 71-year-old; like their Evangelical Christian counterparts in the US.
Notably, Trump’s meeting with Buhari come days after the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) organized national protests “asking the federal government and the security agencies to stop the unending killings and bloodshed in the country.”
Christian leaders, according to Christianity Today, accused Buhari—who is Muslim and whose family is Fulani—of failing to prevent or prosecute the ongoing attacks, which the Nigerian president recently called “vile, evil, and satanic.”
None of the suspected perpetrators have been punished, reports show.
Trump emphasized that Nigeria is “a valued partner and a good friend” to the United States even as he urged Buhari to take religious persecution and violence seriously and map out an appropriate response.