International human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe, disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday, November 29, 2021, containing the report of a recent fact-finding tour.
“I received with dismay reports that terrorists have issued a three-day ultimatum for Churches to close down in Nigeria’s northwest Zamfara state.
“This is a rehash of the 2012 similar three-day ultimatum that resulted in over 200 Christians massacred in Kano state and also in Adamawa state. Indeed I was just with a sole survivor of a Mubi attack in US who is still recovering from grievous medical injuries just like several others from Yobe I saw recently, nine years after.
“This genocide ultimatum may not be unconnected with the recent delisting of Nigeria as a persecutory country by the U.S. as the terrorists may have been emboldened to unleash their Final Solution campaign against Christians given the erroneous US pronouncement.
“It is saddening that in this light, Secretary of State Blinken’s gaffe is likely to have even deadlier consequences than imagined.
“Just yesterday in an unheard of attack for years, terrorists reportedly breached the historically impregnable Jos prison in Plateau State ostensibly in an effort to free their cohorts possibly for this new operational offensive,” lamented Ogebe, of the Justice for Jos Project and US Nigeria Law Group, Washington.
He further wrote: “During our recent factfinding and relief mission to NIGERIA this month, sources informed us that terrorism has stepped up in the north to “end Christmas” this year.
“This has been corroborated by this news.
“Prior to this, I obtained this distress message from a priest:
“Good morning my brother priests, I write to seek for your prayers for the constant attacks in our Axis of Mafara, Anka, Bakura and Maradun. As an update on the insecurity in the zone. The Church in Bakura has been closed and all the parishioners left and returned all the church instruments to the parish. Anka was attacked on the eve of Sunday by the bandits and out of the 20 Families there about 8 have relocated down south and more are planning relocating, the bandits promised to come back as such tension is high in Anka Axis. Even myself attempts have been made on me but God so kind I escaped. I am considering closing Anka for the time been but for the sake of those around I will be going there once or two times a month. The Catechist too has relocated his family to Gusau due insecurity. The Church in Maradun is a no go Area the Christians there have all left. For Mafara about 23 families have relocated to the Southern part of the country and many to the state Capital for better security, our strength in the parish is really shrinking, because most of our active parishioners live in the Axis of Maradun, Bakura and Gora and are no longer there. The few workers of MSF in Anka have relocated to UK and Saudi as Nurses and Doctors. I send this message to you that you may put us in your prayers that God may intervene in our situation. But the situation is really bad.” – Fr. (Priest’s name omitted for security).
“This is not from terror-plagued northeast but Gen Buhari’s home state in the northwest that is now being deChristianized like the northeast.
“In response to my query on what security could be provided, the answer was, “it’s too late.”
That week, these bandits killed seven policemen. They swoop in in their hundreds – janjaweeds on motorbikes – an overwhelming force!
“During our visit, we were told these terrorist bandits have reached the capital and it could soon be breached.
“In the northwest state nearest the capital an entire church congregation was abducted. I thought I had exhausted my ability to be shocked by ongoing atrocities in NIGERIA this past 11 terror years but the depths of evil here are surpassed only by the breadth of God’s mercy.
“But gubernatorial elections in a South-East state saw the deployment of 350,000 security agents. Literally an army of occupation in a militarized poll.
“Amidst the manufactured mania, we marveled meeting two heroines of the faith recently escaped from ISWAP captivity.
“One was asked at a Nazi-esque road checkpoint ambush after a Bible was found in her bag, “are you a Christian?”. Her answer determined her fate.
“The second escaped three times with a fractured leg and was recaptured and tortured by the terrorists until her fourth and final escape days before we arrived Nigeria.
“A third heroine fled to Cameroun and back with her little daughters aged five and six and now at 30 is trying to get her high school education in her eighth year of displacement.
“These are the Many More Leahs that abound in whom we stand in awe – still being abducted weekly in northern Nigeria.
“These are voiceless and invisible victims that Blinken didn’t see on his maiden Africa tour.
“Eight years after we won the battle to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization, the battle for basic truth still rages…”
On their recommendations, Ogebe wrote:
– We urge Christians to desist from ALL travels in North East and North West Nigeria from December to February 2022.
– We urge the Nigerian security forces to adequately secure all places of worship who choose to celebrate Christmas in the north
– We urge the Nigerian government to investigate, prosecute and expose those behind the Jos prison assault
– We urge the US to assist in stopping the extinction of Christmas and Christianity in Nigeria, as virtually occurred in Iraq after the US invasion, by reversing the delisting of Nigeria and providing urgent protections.
•International Human Rights Lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe during a recent humanitarian mission to Nigeria