Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade of Nigeria’s Ondo Diocese has pleaded with lawmakers in the United Kingdom to push their government and other nations to help address the persecution of Christians in the West African nation lest it is overrun by terrorists.
In his address to the Houses of Parliament Wednesday, November 16, Bishop Ayodeji said, “I strongly appeal to this important body and all people of goodwill to compel the Nigerian government to stop the genocide. Or, in the least, ask for help from other countries before Nigeria is overrun as is the case of Afghanistan,” the Nigerian Bishop said.
He told the lawmakers to ask the Muhamadu Buhari-led government to deploy all legal and political instruments to protect and enforce the freedom of the minority and stop the rampant killings.
In his speech titled, “The ongoing ethno-religious persecution in Nigeria - Scale the barriers of deafening silence”, Bishop Ayodeji warned that Nigeria “is on the edge, apprehensive of a major offensive that may sweep round the entire country.”
He explained the situation in Africa’s most populous nation saying that religious persecution is high in the northern and middle Belt regions of the country where Christians are discriminated against on account of their faith are included.
Making reference to June 2022 statistics, Bishop Ayodeji said over 3,478 people have been killed and 2,256 have been kidnapped since President Buhari was sworn in in 2015.
The Bishop of Ondo Diocese said that if the situation is not addressed, "at the time when the number of deaths will be published at the end of the year, the world will be embarrassed by the figure."
The 61-year-old Catholic Bishop further said that majority of the victims of the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Nigeria are Christians, the Catholic Church leader said during his November 16 address.
He went to say that the situation has worsened to a level that "terrorists have become so daring that they operate in the broad daylight kidnapping innocent travelers on highways, farmers in the field and citizens going about their daily lives."
Unfortunately, the Nigerian bishop said, it has become useless to report the cases of attack and abductions to the police officers since the security personnel “are helpless too” and “will often advise victims' families to pay the ransom requested to save the lives of their loved ones.”
He said that he found it regrettable that the murders and attacks “are no longer in the news because cases have become too frequent and when culprits are arrested, they are not charged (in) court.”
The suspects are often released under "the bogus reform program which has kept recycling violent criminals back to the battlefield,” Bishop Ayodeji said.
“The world must insist that terrorists, their sponsors and their sympathizers be brought to justice,” the Local Ordinary of Ondo told lawmakers in the UK.
He added, “No one or group of people should have the audacity under any circumstance to unleash the level of mayhem going on in Nigeria on innocent citizens.”