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Nigeria Is Worst in the World for Persecution of Christians in 2021

In 2021: 5,191 Hacked To Death

5 April 2021 | Released by Intersociety

6006 killed in fifteen months (Jan 2021-March 2022) and 45,644 died in 13 years or since July 2009 Boko Haram uprising

30, 000 moderate and defenseless Muslim lives lost

Nigeria: The World’s Greatest Enemy of Christianity

The Federal Republic of Nigeria ended the year 2021 with the ignominious distinction of being the country most hostile to Freedom of Worship. Nigeria also became “the Greatest Enemy of Christian Faith in the World” and “a country with the world’s largest Christian Deaths for the Year 2021.” No fewer than 5,191 of the victims were unarmed citizens hacked to death or shot by Islamic radicals or hostile members of the country’s security forces

According to the Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch index on global killing of Christians: “4,650 Christians were killed in Nigeria between Nov 2020 and Oct 2021, higher than 3,530 deaths recorded in the previous year (Oct 2019-Nov 2020) and 2500 Christians were abducted between Nov 2020 and Oct 2021 as against 900 abducted in the previous year”. For the fifteen months from January 2021 to March 2022, Nigeria saw a total 6006 Christian deaths.

45,644 Christian and 30,000 Muslim Lives Lost In 13 Years

From July 2009 (year of the Boko Haram Uprising) to March 2022, the Christian death tolls rose to 45,644. Approximately 30,000 moderate Muslims were also killed during the period by the country’s Jihadists, who are chiefly indigenous Fulani Herdsmen, Fulani Bandits and other jihadist pastoralists or mercenaries. Trends associated with killing of moderate and defenseless Muslims in the country especially in the last five years have been centered on ‘Muslim Fulani-Muslim Hausa rivalries in the Muslim dominant Northern States of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi and North and Central Kaduna while patterns and trends associated with their fractional killings dating back to 2009 are centered on ‘collateral and revenge killings’. In all, 75,644 Nigerians have been killed in the previous 13 years – among them 45,644 Christian deaths and 30,000 deaths of moderate Muslims.

5,191 Christians Killed In 2021

The year 2021 ended disastrously for Christians and their sacred places of worship with the killing or abduction of at least 25 Christian clerics and attack or destruction of between 400 and 420 Churches. Also, not less than 3,800 Christians were abducted, and of these, scores were killed in captivity by jihadists. That is to say, that while 4,400 Christians were killed between January and September 2021, an additional 700 others were killed between October and December 2021. The latter group included 231 Christian deaths perpetrated by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen or Fulani Bandits as opposed to 70 killed by Boko Haram and ISWAP in Niger. No fewer than 400 defenseless Igbo civilian Christians were killed by security forces in “open” (street shootings and killings) and “closed” (custodial killings) quarters in Old Eastern Nigeria. The Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen/Bandits’ killings from October to December 2021 included “the Nasarawa Tiv Christian massacre of Dec 20, 2021” during which no fewer than 52 Christians were hacked to death.

6006 Christians Killed In 15 Months

No fewer than 6006 Christians were hacked to death in the last 15 months or from January 2021 to March 2022. In the first three months of 2022, not less than 915 have been killed. The breakdown drawn from our recent investigation/review clearly indicates that the Christian parts of Niger State -- including Shiroro, Munya and Rafi Local Government Areas -- are the worst hit with 213 Christian deaths. The second most lethal region is Southern Kaduna with 143 deaths, followed by these states: Taraba 130 deaths, Benue 72 deaths, Plateau 62 deaths, Ondo/Ogun 40 deaths, Kebbi 20 deaths, Enugu 20 deaths, Edo/Delta 15 deaths and Nasarawa, Kogi, Abia and Imo with 10 deaths each. Boko Haram and ISWAP, on their part, are believed to have killed no fewer than 60 Christians in the past three months or Jan to March 2022. The Nigerian security forces in the past three months killed not less than 70 Igbo civilians. A “dark figure” of 70 Christian deaths was added to represent undetected others which grandly brings the total number of Christians killed for their faith in the country in the past three months of 2022 to no fewer than 915. At least six Christian clerics were abducted or killed and not less than 20 Christian places of worship attacked or destroyed.

3800 Christians Abducted In 2021 And 700 In Jan-March 2022

From findings made by Intersociety, not less than 3,800 Christians were abducted in Nigeria in 2021. Those were more than half of the 6,000 total religious and tribal abductions and in the last three months of 2022. In Niger State, more than 700 anti-Christian abductions had taken place. Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen have also abducted no fewer than 30 defenseless Igbo Christians from January to March 2022 in Enugu, Abia and Imo States and killed not less than 20 in Isi-Uzo and Uzo-Uwani parts of Enugu State.

How Our Findings Are Made

The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has been monitoring, documenting and exposing the killing of Christians and burning or destruction of their sacred places of worship in Nigeria since 2010, two years after we were founded. Armed with corporate integrity, global respectability and statistics intellectualism and led by graduate experts in the fields of criminology, security studies, law, peace studies, conflict resolution, journalism and so on, our reports have been built on research and investigation, verified eyewitness and survived victims’ accounts, church bodies, victimized ethnic entities, verified media reports and those from local and international rights and research institutions, such as the Weekly Security Tracker of the Council on Foreign Relations. Others are Christian persecution watchdogs and minority Muslim groups, etc.

Group Identities of Those Killing Christians on The Ground Of Faith And Ethnic Belief

The anti-Christian butcheries in Nigeria have been investigated and found to be perpetrated mainly by Jihadist Fulani herdsmen and their mercenaries. Other than the indigenous Jihadist

Fulani Herdsmen and their pastoralist counterparts recruited from some African countries, the “Zamfara Bandits” -- now called “Fulani Bandits” -- are also responsible for butchering of defenseless Christians. Other bad actors include Boko Haram, ISWAP, Ansaru and their foreign counterparts. The Muslim-dominated Nigerian security forces were also responsible for multiple hundreds of civilian Christian deaths in Igbo parts of the Old Eastern Nigeria in 2021 which have continued in the first three months of 2022.

Muslim Fulani-Muslim Hausa Rivalries Fueling Killings In Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Etc

The ethno-religious jihadists responsible for hacking moderate and defenseless Muslims to death in the Northern Muslim States of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Birnin-Gwari and Igabi parts of Kaduna State are drawn from Fulani Bandits formed in Maradun part of Zamfara State in 2011 and who came into the limelight in 2013. They were primarily raised against the indigenous Hausa communities and their Vigilante Group, known as “Yankasai. Several investigations by Intersociety have further revealed that many Muslim victims in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi and northern Kaduna belong to indigenous Hausa Muslim communities. For economic, political and radical religious reasons (i.e., alliance for Jihad), the perpetrators of this type of violence have extended their mayhem to other parts of the North including targeting members of other ethno-religious nationalities such as northern and non-northern Christians and members of non-Fulani Muslim Faith. The violence has since 2017 escalated and extended to Niger, Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kogi, Gombe and Bauchi States. The Fulani Bandits have also allied with Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in occupying and terrorizing forests, bushes and farmlands and their owners in the Southern States of Edo, Ondo, Ogun, Delta and the North Central State of Benue.

Intersociety previously reported 3rd Oct 2021 that Muslim Jihadists, including state-actor and non-state actor radical Islamists, had between January and September 2021, hacked to death no fewer than 4,400 defenseless and unprotected Christians, in addition to killing or abducting 20 Christian clerics and burning down or destroying between 350 and 400 churches or Christian schools as well as abducting 3500 Christians. On average, 490 Christians were killed monthly and 16 on daily basis. The killing of Christians was further broken down to 2,540 killed by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and 1,963 killed by others. Regional murders were aggregated as follows: 600 killed by Jihadist Fulani Bandits chiefly in Niger, Kebbi, Taraba, Adamawa and Southern Kaduna: about 680 killed by Boko Haram and ISWAP in Taraba, Adamawa, Niger, Kebbi, Yobe and Chibok and other Christian areas of Borno State. The Northern Muslim-dominated and controlled security forces killed at least 680 civilian Christians, chiefly in the Igbo parts of the Old Eastern Nigeria.

The Southern Kaduna had topped the list with 608 deaths, followed by Benue State with 550 deaths, Plateau State ,400 deaths, Christian parts of Niger State 300 deaths, Taraba State 270 deaths, Igbo States of Ebonyi/Enugu/Anambra/Abia 240 deaths, Ogun/Ondo/Oyo/Ekiti/Osun 180 deaths, Kebbi 120 deaths, Nasarawa 60 deaths, Kogi or Kwara states 30 deaths, Igbo part of Delta 35 deaths, Edo State 40 deaths, nonIgbo part of Delta 25 deaths, Gombe/Bauchi 40 deaths, Christian part of Geidam in Yobe State 25 deaths, Kogi/Kawara State 30 deaths and Katsina ten deaths including a Reverend Father. Borno State also topped the list of Christians hacked to death by Boko Haram/ISWAP/Ansaru with 450 deaths while Adamawa, Taraba and Yobe States accounted for 240 others.

Killing Of 43,000 Christians in 12 Years (July 2009-August 2021)

Intersociety had in its special int’l report of 4th August 2021 revealed that 43,000 Christians were hacked to death by jihadists and their collaborators in Nigeria in the 12 years from July 2009 to August 2021. An estimated 17,500 Churches and more 2000 Christian schools were attacked, 10 million northern Christians uprooted and six million forced to flee their homes to avoid being hacked to death by the jihadists. The Report further found that out of 72,000 total deaths perpetrated on ethno-religious grounds during this 12-year period, as many as 29,000 moderate and defenseless Muslims lost their lives. More than 500 Christian communities in Northern Nigeria were also sacked and taken over by the Jihadists.


For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law

· Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies)

Board Chair/Lead-Investigator

· Obianuju Joy Igboeli Esquire, LLB, BL

Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law

· Ndidiamaka Bernard Esquire, LLB, BL

Head, Int’l Justice and Human Rights

· Chidimma Evangeline Udegbunam Esquire, LLB, BL

Head, Campaign and Publicity

· Samuel Kamanyaoku (HND)

Head, Field Data Documentation


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