A persecution watchdog is delivering a pointed message to the Biden administration after the U.S. State Department again declined to list Nigeria on its Countries of Particular Concern list, with the expert warning that there’s a “slow-motion genocide” unfolding against Christians inside the African nation.
Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern (ICC), told CBN Digital there have been an estimated 100,000 deaths over the past two decades, with 3.5 million Christian farmers being unfairly driven from their lands.
The ongoing and intense persecution has left King and other leaders perplexed as to why the State Department continues to leave Nigeria off its Countries of Particular Concern list, a designation King said provides “a list of the countries with the worst records on religious freedom around the world.”
If given the chance to speak with the Biden administration, King said he’d deliver a candid assessment of the dire nature of the ever-deteriorating situation.
“This is a slow-motion genocide,” he said. “It’s a slow-motion Jihad.”
Watch King explain the crisis in Nigeria:
King added, “What does it take for the United States to use what they’re best at — just use the administration, use the bully pulpit to speak up and to stand for those who are oppressed, to stand for the defenseless? That’s all we have to do.”
The persecution watchdog said it’s essential to call out what’s unfolding in Nigeria and pressure officials there to take action.
“The … hidden story in all this … it’s really because Muslims are in control of the army, the intel agencies, and the police, and that’s why nothing ever happens. It’s an inside job.”
CBN Digital has extensively covered the stonings, deaths, and harassment Christians face inside Nigeria. King said the persecution issue began to intensify about 20 years ago when believers started being driven out of their villages at gunpoint, with machetes and armed attacks unfolding at the hands of Fulani tribesmen.
“They’d come in, they would machete and shoot everybody, burn the place to the ground,” King said. ‘That’s happened over, and over, and over for the last 20 years.”
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Many Christians in Nigeria live in total fear, not knowing when their towns and homes could be targeted next.
“Day to day, you’re wondering … if your village is next and whether you’re going to live through the night,” King said.
It’s an especially perplexing situation considering Nigeria’s demographics, with upwards of half of Nigerians calling themselves Christians. There’s a large number of Christians in the south of Nigeria, with Muslims dominating the north.
“The battleground has all been the middle ground,” King said. “They drove the Christians out of the north … and they pushed them down; now they’re taking the Christians out of the Middle Belt.”
He believes there could be more of a Christian uprising as the violence and chaos moves south, calling the dire situation a “powder keg.” With millions of Christian farmers driven from their lands unjustly, he worries civil war could eventually erupt.
“It is a disaster waiting to happen,” King said. “[If] it ever goes to civil war, which sooner or later it will — you can only kill so many people and steal their land without them rising up” … you have a refugee problem that dwarfs everything else we’ve seen.”
He said the U.S. government should take steps to stop the chaos before it worsens. But he said Nigeria’s oil resource might be clouding attempts to thwart the chaos, stating he believes the African nation gets “a different consideration than a lot of countries” because of this factor.
King encouraged people to get educated about what’s unfolding and to take action, imploring people to call legislative representatives, to write letters, and to pray for those impacted.
USCIRF calls for a congressional hearing after reiterating its extreme disappointment that the U.S. @StateDept yet again failed to designate #Nigeria and #India as #CPCs, despite both countries repeatedly meeting the legal standard. https://t.co/n5CPOxQCPP— USCIRF (@USCIRF) January 4, 2024
“We can’t just stop at prayer,” he said. “The Lord says for us to remember the oppressed, to stand up, especially for the family of God or brothers and sisters who are being decimated.”
King isn’t alone in his critique of the State Department for failing to list Nigeria, as the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan federal agency monitoring religious liberty, critiqued the government for failing to include India and Nigeria on the list.
“There is no justification as to why the State Department did not designate Nigeria or India as a Country of Particular Concern, despite its own reporting and statements,” USCIRF Chair Abraham Cooper and Vice Chair Frederick A. Davie said in a statement. “USCIRF calls on Congress to convene a public hearing on the failure of the State Department to follow our recommendations.”
Countries on the most recent State Department list are Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
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