Family Research Council Urges Trump Administration to Sanction Nigeria Over Inability to Stop Violence Against Christians

Churchgoers pray during a morning service at the Saint Charles Catholic Church, the site of a 2014 bomb attack blamed on Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, in the predominantly-Christian neighborhood of Sabon Gari in Kano, northern Nigeria Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. (Credit: AP Photo/Ben Curtis.)

A leading conservative evangelical advocacy group is calling on the Trump administration to consider sanctions against Nigeria in response to the government’s inability to thwart communal and extremist violence that has led to the deaths of thousands of Christians in recent years. 

In a policy paper released last week, the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council called on the U.S. government to impose “hard-hitting sanctions” against Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and consider cutting aid to the West African country until steps are taken to address the violence routinely committed against Christian communities.

The new report, titled “The Crisis of Christian Persecution in Nigeria,” was written by FRC Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom Lela Gilbert.

Gilbert and others working to restore religious freedom for Christians are calling on the Trump administration to appoint a State Department envoy for Nigeria as Boko Haram extremists and radical herdsmen continue to attack and kill hundreds of civilians each year.

The individual serving in this position would be responsible for making sure that violent attacks against Christians are documented accurately.

In the fiscal year 2020, the U.S. provided Nigeria with nearly half a billion dollars in foreign assistance. Gilbert’s report suggests making the foreign aid “conditional upon specific demands, such as governmental curbs on deadly attacks.”

In an interview with The Christian Post, Gilbert called on the global Christian community to rally in support of Christians facing persecution and death in Nigeria.

“We really have to pray for our Nigerian brothers and sisters because they are facing horrendous attacks and constant danger in some places,” Gilbert said. “We believe in doing all we can do otherwise, of course. But we also want to ask God to intervene to help these people. If our voices are raised as one, I know that He’ll hear us.”

Persecution and slaughter of Christians has been a common occurrence in Nigeria in recent years and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving.

Referring to the country as a “killing field of defenseless Christians,” a report compiled by the Nigeria-based International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law earlier this year estimates that between 11,500 and 12,000 Christian deaths were recorded between June 2015 and March 2020. The same group estimated that as many as 1,200 Christians have been killed in the first six months of 2020.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Ryan Foley

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