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Nigerian Catholic Bishop Urgently Calls for Action Against Genocidal Violence Targeting Christians

Urgent Testimony Reveals Genocidal Violence Against Christians in Nigeria: Bishop Anagbe Decries Silence and Calls for Immediate Action

WASHINGTON — A Nigerian Catholic bishop delivered a powerful testimony to a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Tuesday, raising a distressing alarm about the genocidal violence targeting Christian communities in Nigeria. Bishop Winfred Anagbe of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Makurdi in Benue State expressed deep concern over the lack of action from his government and the international community, branding it a “conspiracy of silence.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations convened a hearing titled “The Dire State of Religious Freedom Around the World.” Bishop Anagbe was set to testify about the mass killings in his diocese, but due to unforeseen circumstances, he couldn’t attend the hearing in person. However, his written remarks, obtained by The Christian Post, were officially entered into the record.

In his powerful testimony, Bishop Anagbe shed light on the atrocities plaguing his diocese. He revealed that Islamic militants’ attacks have resulted in thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions, leading to numerous refugee camps across the State. Schools, clinics, churches, and markets have been destroyed, leaving the Christian communities in distress.

The bishop lamented that since 2014, he and his fellow bishops have experienced the loss of parishioners almost daily. He explicitly referred to the killings and land occupation as a “calculated genocide” that aligns with the United Nations’ definition of genocide.

Despite the severe nature of the crisis, the Nigerian government has not shown a strong commitment to ending the violence, and powerful stakeholders worldwide have remained silent, fueling Bishop Anagbe’s belief in a “conspiracy of silence.” He implored the committee members to urgently intervene and aid the Christian community in Benue and Nigeria as a whole before the situation becomes dire.

The bishop highlighted a troubling declaration adopted by Nigerian Muslims in 1989, known as the “Abuja Islamic Declaration.” This document outlines a vision for Islam’s role in Nigerian society and calls for the establishment of an Islamic State. Bishop Anagbe argued that this declaration has played a significant role in fueling religious bigotry and the violent targeting of Christians, with the ultimate goal of conquering the Christian states in the middle belt and southern regions of Nigeria.

As he concluded his testimony, Bishop Anagbe urged the U.S. State Department to place Nigeria on the list of “countries of particular concern” for their violations of religious freedom. He also called for the appointment of a Special Envoy to the Sub-Saharan Region of Africa to address the grave issues that demand global attention.

This urgent testimony comes as the Biden administration has faced criticism for not designating Nigeria as a “country of particular concern” despite the growing concern over religious persecution there. The situation in Nigeria remains critical, and religious freedom advocates, including Rabbi Abraham Cooper from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, joined Bishop Anagbe in calling for immediate action.

The need for swift intervention is evident, as the violence in Nigeria continues to escalate, impacting millions of lives and exacerbating the persecution faced by the Christian community. It is crucial for Congress to pass House Resolution 82 and ensure Nigeria’s religious freedom violations are addressed with urgency and resolve. The fate of millions hangs in the balance, demanding immediate attention from the international community. Time is of the essence, and a concerted effort is required to end this genocidal violence and protect the rights and lives of the vulnerable Christian population in Nigeria.

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