The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) is appealing to President Trump and Pope Francis to intercede with their government to stop the “genocidal killings of Christians.”
Spokesmen for the rights group said they had made this decision after the recent spate of well-coordinated attacks on Christians by armed Islamists in Kaduna state.
The group’s leaders hope that as respected world leaders, Mr. Trump and Pope Francis will prevail upon Kaduna state governor Mallam Nassir El-Rufai and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to finally take action against the genocide.
“Since Nigerian State and the Kaduna state government are not treating these threats as a national emergency we have decided to let the world know the true state of things and we are happy that some organizations have made similar findings,” said a statement jointly signed by the HURIWA National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf.
“On the last count virtually all major Christian denominations in Kaduna State have witnessed dozens of attacks just as dozens of pastors have died in the cause of these targeted armed invasions and kidnapping,” the statement reads. “We are not accusing the Kaduna state government of involvements but we are worried about the conspiratorial silence to these series of attacks.”
The rights group also expressed its deep concern that Christians are not represented in Kaduna state government, since the governor, deputy governor, and State House of Assembly speaker are all Muslims, despite constitutional provisions that members from different ethno-religious communities be represented in strategic offices.
Such a state of affairs is no accident, the group alleges, but rather “the Kaduna state government and the office of the Nigerian President are deeply entrenched in the selective appointments of mostly Moslems as holders of virtually all strategic positions.”
The effect of this is to consign “millions of Christians to the inglorious position of second-class citizens,” the statement said, making them “cannon fodder for the spiraling armed attacks by armed Islamists masquerading as herdsmen, kidnappers and bandits.”
“This is the fuel that has ignited widespread mistreatment of Christians,” the group asserts. “The incessant attacks by armed Islamists targeting only pastors; Christian schools and clerics of Christian denomination have become a national emergency.”
The exclusive Muslim composition of key government offices has contributed decisively to political inaction in the face of mounting attacks on Christians, the group stated, referencing the recent abduction of four Catholic seminarians from Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna.
HURIWA has compared the current situation of Christians in Nigeria to that of Iraq prior to the Islamic State’s invasion.
At that stage, “Christians were being abducted, robbed and murdered because there was no protection by the state,” the group said. “This must not be allowed to happen to the Christians of Nigeria. The government must act now, before it is too late.”
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