Nigeria, often called the “Giant of Africa,” is located over seven-thousand miles from our Focus on the Family and Daily Citizen headquarters.

Situated on the west coast of Africa, the former British colony seems to usually make the news in the United States for its lawlessness – and today’s international headlines are no exception.

“Nigeria hit by another mass kidnapping, with more than 300 now believed missing,” leads CBS News.

“Bandits” are known to storm villages and take prisoners, all with the hope of demanding ransom and eliciting a big pay day. But thousands are also killed. Yet, what’s not often detailed in these stories is that Christians are often the target.

Open Doors International, a Christian missions organization committed to supporting persecuted Christians around the world, has determined that over 5,000 followers of Jesus Christ were murdered in Nigeria in 2022 – 90 percent of the total number of believers killed worldwide.

What can be done about it – and why should we be concerned about something happening so many miles from the United States?

Genocide and the mass slaughter of Christians should burden believers everywhere.

The late Elie Wiesel, the Romanian-born writer and holocaust survivor, once observed, “A destruction, an annihilation that only man can provoke, only man can prevent.”

If and how we respond to genocide today will often influence and impact threats and attacks tomorrow.

United States Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) has introduced H. Res. 82, a non-binding, bipartisan bill which would designate Nigeria as a “country of particular concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act. Such a designation would set in motion economic options if non-economic actions prove ineffective in combatting the attacks.

It also calls for the appointment of someone with experience in defending religious freedom and human rights to serve as a “Special Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region.” This individual would help keep the administration and officials fully aware of what’s going on and make recommendations accordingly.

As of this writing, there are 28 co-sponsors for the resolution. It was recently voted out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Now it’s hoped the full House will soon vote and adopt the measure.

Please consider reaching out to your representative in the House and urge them to support H. Res. 82.

Sean Nelson, Legal Counsel, Global Religious Freedom with our friends at ADF International, concurs:

“No person should be persecuted for their faith, and it is imperative that the U.S. government condemn the targeted violence, unjust imprisonments, and egregious blasphemy laws that plague Christians and religious minorities in Nigeria,” Nelson recently said.

Representative Smith makes clear, “I am convinced there’s more that the US can do.”

What all the United States will do remains an open question – but what you can do is clear: please contact your representative and urge them to support H. Res. 82.



Image from Shutterstock.