Nigerian government failed to protect Christians and should act, court rules

ABUJA, Nigeria — The government of Nigeria failed to protect people massacred by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in predominantly Christian areas of Benue state in 2016 and should prosecute those responsible, a West African court has ruled.

On Feb. 26, in a unanimous verdict of three judges, the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice ordered the government to investigate the attacks that killed more than 300 Christians and destroyed property in the Agatu area. The government also was ordered to identify and prosecute the perpetrators and redress victims. 

The court also ordered Nigeria’s government to take urgent measures to protect Christians in the area by deployment of soldiers and police personnel to the affected communities. The suit states in the past three years, Muslim Fulani attacks have killed 1,000 people and destroyed property in 15 counties, including the Agatu area. 

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution. (MS)