Nigerian Christians: If we are to die for our faith, we will do it

These are the 276 girls and young women abducted from Chibok Christian School in Nigeria by the Boko Haram in 2014. Five years have passed and the world has already forgotten about them. Some have returned to their families, but 112 are still missing. While the Nigerian government maintains that Boko Haram has been “technically defeated”, the reality, unfortunately, is different.

JOSEPH FIDELIS
Priest of Maiduguri Diocese, Nigeria
They still are there persecuting people, killing and abducting women. They are doing a lot of terrible things especially to Christians. I wouldn’t say the situation has improved so much, rather, I do not want to be pessimistic, but I think it has got worse.”

Joseph Fidelis is a Nigerian priest from the diocese of Maiduguri. He is from the very place where this terrorist group was founded in 2002. He himself welcomed dozens of people fleeing from Boko Haram and its massacres to his parish in Nigeria.

JOSEPH FIDELIS
Priest of Maiduguri Diocese, Nigeria
They need human support. They need physical concrete support in terms of food and other things. However, above all, they need to be reinstated back into their homes where they can live and resume their normal lives with their families.

However, normality is something that still seems distant for Christians in Nigeria. Beside the Boko Haram there is also another group who are targeting Christians. They are the Fulani tribe, made up of mostly Muslims, who want to establish a caliphate and conquer the people’s land so their animals can graze on it.

JOSEPH FIDELIS
Priest of Maiduguri Diocese, Nigeria
When they come they destroy the villages, bomb houses, kill people and let their animals feed on their farms. What is this? This is persecution. We know that the Fulani are 99 if not 100 percent Muslim. The startlingly thing is that sometimes the government are silent. The government says nothing, or even when there is a response it is very slow. So people are massacred in their numbers, hundreds of people are killed.”

Some reports say the Fulani killed more Christians in 2018 than the Boko Haram. Father Joseph explains that even though they are in danger of death, Christians feel more and more secure in their faith.

JOSEPH FIDELIS
Priest of Maiduguri Diocese, Nigeria
We have found a sense of bonding together. This is to stand by one another in the midst of suffering. This has kept us going and has become a model for us that no matter the circumstances, no matter the suffering, we will never give up our faith. We will remain Christians and if it means dying we are ready for it. This is not that we want cheap martyrdom. However, if it means dying for our faith we will die for it.”

Meanwhile the attempt to create a caliphate in Africa does not cease, especially in Nigeria, Africa’s largest and most populous country. The Jihadists know that if Nigeria falls it will mean the Islamization of practically the entire African continent.