The International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) has called for the appointment of U.S. Special Envoy to Nigeria, asserting that the country is failing to provide freedom of religion and basic protections for its citizens.
As “a nonprofit working to secure a future for all Nigerians,” ICON released a statement following the release of the 2020 Annual Report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which designates Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” for its egregious violations of religious freedom.
In a statement sent to Breitbart News, ICON said that terrorist groups like Boko Haram have perpetrated “unspeakable violence” against unarmed and undefended Christian communities over the past decade, and the persecution has gone from bad to worse, resulting in a “silent slaughter.”
“Tens of thousands of innocent lives have been lost, the vast majority of them women and children,” the group said. “Thousands of churches have been torched. Entire communities, villages, and towns have been devastated. Millions have been kidnapped or displaced from their homes following persecution.”
“In an especially disgusting demonstration of brutality, the same terrorists that have operated unchecked for the last decade are now exploiting this time of crisis,” the committee said. “According to reports, more than 200 innocent lives have been taken already this month. That’s four times more than the number of lives lost to COVID-19.
Much of the anti-Christian violence in Nigeria is perpetrated by Fulani raiders who seek to rid the nation’s middle belt of Christians. According to ICON, statistics on Nigerian deaths suggest that the group is “six times deadlier than Boko Haram.”
ICON also took issue with the way the slaughter of Christians has been addressed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is himself of Fulani ethnicity.
“Not only has President Muhammadu Buhari failed to stop the violence, but attacks against Christians have become more aggressive and deadly under his administration,” the group lamented. “We need to do everything in our power to stop this crisis as soon as possible.”
“USCIRF’s 2020 Report confirms the critical need for U.S. action to stop the killing of innocent people in Nigeria. Specifically, we need to send a Special Envoy to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region,” the statement reads.